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Bj C. BaldiriDy New Bridge^Creet. 




Chip. Page. 

L Of Books , 1 

11. Of Cruelty »^v .^..-.II^V 

^in. An Apology for Raimondde Sebonde. • /. ifl y^ '• ty ^ . 

IV. Of judging of the death of another 287'^^"^^^* 

V. How the Mind hampers itself. 295 

VL That our Desires are augmented by the Difficulty of 

obtaining them. 897 

^VIL Of Glory SOS 5^^ 

Vin. Of IVesumptfton S23 

IX. Of giving the Lie S6S 

X. Of Liberty of Consdenoe 871 

XL That we taste nothing Pure. 876 

XIL Against Sloth ;... 881 - 

Xra.OfPosts 886 

XIV. Of ill Means employed to a good End 888 

XV. Of the Roman Grandeur. 898 

XVI. Not to counterfeit Sickness ^ 895 

XVII. Of Thumbs 898 

'•XVIII. Cowardice the Mother of Cruelty 400 •' * 

XIX. All Thmgs have their Season 412 

XX. Of Virtue. 415 

XXL Of a monstrous Child 425 

XXIL Of Anger. 427 

XXIII. Defence of Seneca and Plutarch 487 

XXIV. The Story of Spurina ! 446 

XXV. Observations on Julius Cssar's Methods of making 

War ^ 455 

XXVL Of three good Women..... 466 - 

XXVIL Of three most excellent Men 477 

XXVIII. Of the Resemblance of Children to their Fathers. . . 486 
XXIX. Of Profit and Honesty. 524 




Of Books. 

1 MAKE no doubt but I often happen to speak of 
things that are much better and more truly handle4 
by those who are masters of the profession. This 19 
purdyan essay of my natural parts, and not of those 
whicli are acquired; and whoever shaJl catch m^ 
tripping in my ignorance, will do me no manner of 
harm ; for I, who am not responsible to myself for 
my writings, nor pleased with them, should be loth 
to be answerable for them to another. He that seeks 
after knowledge, let him fish for it where it is to be 
found; there being nothing which I so little profes^. 
These are fancies of my own, by which I do not aim 
to discover things, but myself. They will, perhaps, 
be known to me one day or other, or have formeily 
been so, according as my fortune brought me to the 
places where they were manifested; but now I have 
forgot them : and, though I am a man of some 
reading, j^et I am a man of no retention ; so that I 
caij promise nothing certain, unless it be to discover 
mt wnat degree the barometer of my knowledge now 
standi. Let not the subjects I write on be so much 
attended to, as my manner of treating thepi. Let 

VOL. u. B 

3 (ft BOOKS* 

it be observed whether, in what I boitow from 
others, I have chosen what tends to set off or support 
the invention, whifh is always nijr own : for I make 
others say for me what, either for want of language, 
or of sense, I cannot, myself, so well express. I do 
not count what I borrow, but I wei^h it. And, if 
I had aimed to make a merit by me quanti^, I 
should have borrowed twice as much as I have. 
They are ally or within a few, such celebrated 
ancient authors, as, I think, are too well known for 
me to mention them.* 
WkyMM^ In reasons, comparisons, and arguments, if I 
S^flS^ transplant any, from elsewhere, into my soil, and 
wuSUr^ confound them with my own,- I ]>urpose^ conceal 
ftMwhMathe author, to check the presumption of tnose hasty 
befMCtd. censures that are cast upon all. kind of writings, par- 
ticularly the juvenile, of men ^ret living, and com- 
posed in the vulgar tongue, which capacitates every 
man to speak of them, and seems to intimate, that 
there is nothing but what is vulgar, both as to design 
and conception, in those works. I am content that 
they give Plutarch a rap upon my knuckles, and that 
/they bum their fingers by lasfamg Seneca through' 
my sides. There was a necessity of screening my 
weakness by those great characters.^ I shall love the 
man that can strip me of my plumage, I mean, by 
the clearness of discernment, and by the strength 
and beauty of the arguments. For I, who, for want 
of memory, am, every now and then, at a loss to 
choose them by an exact knowledge of the places 
^ere fthey are to be found in the originals, am yet 
wise enough to know, by the measure of my own 
abilities, uiat my soil is incapable of producing any 

* * It ntk not till nfter Montaigne's death, that his editon tinder^ 
tc^ tD ikoie the authors whose words he had quoted. But I will 
pt^uiie to say^ this was rather attempted than executed before this 
editiDh ; which not onljr shofws the places from whence Montaigne 
'quoted those passages, but also many others, which he had only 
.referred to in a very loose manner, though he had inserted the senao 
ofthenl In his work. ' 


fif tfaoderich flowers that I see planted ihere^i and 
that they are worth more than all the fruits of my 
own growth*. For this I h<rfd myself responsible, 
thou^ the confession makes against me, if thdre be 
any vanity and vice in my discourses, which I do 
not of myself perceive, or which I am not Capable 
of perceiving when pointed out to me by another ^ 
Sot many fiudts escape our eye, but the infirmity of 
judgment consists in not being able to discern them 
when detected to us by another. We may possess 
knowlei^ and truth without judgment, and judg* • 
ment without them ^ nay, the confession of igno-' 
ranee is. one of the fairest and surest testimonies of 
judgment that I know o£ I. have no herald to mar« 
shal my essays, but chance. As fast as thoughts 
come mto my head, which sometimes they do in 
whole bodies, and sometimes in sifigle files, I pile 
tiiem one upon another. I am content that every 
one should see my natural and ordinary pace, be it 
ever so mudhi out of the way. I suffer myself to jog 
on in my old track : nor are these such sul^ects that 
a man shall be condemned. for being ignonLnt of 
them, and for treating them casually and presump* 
tuously. I could wish to have a more perfect know<« 
ledge of things, hut I do not care to purchase it at 
so dear a rate. I would fain pass the remainder of 
my days easily and not laboriously. There is 
Bothing that I choose to cudgel my brains about, no, 
not for science, how valuable soever. 

All that I read books for, is to divert myself by Whit be 
an hcmest amusement; or, if I study, it is for no^iJ|2^Jj*^ 
other science than what teaches mc to know mvself, ^*^^»> 
iind how to live and die well : 

Has meus ad metas sudet oportet eqvus.* 

This is the only course 

In which I think I ought to breathe my horse. 

If any difficulties occur in reading, I do not bitt 

* nropert. lib. iv. cleg. 1* 
^ B2 


ray nails about them, but after an essay or two 1x> 
^cplain them, I give them over : were I to insist 
upon them, I would lose both myself and my time, 
for I have a genius that is extremdy volatile ; and 
what I do not discern at the first essay, becomes the 
more obscure to me the longer I pore on it I do 
nothing without gaiety; Perseverance, and a too 
obstinate contention, darken, stupify, and tire my 
judgment. My sight is therein confounded and, 
dissipated. I must withdraw it, and leave it to make 
new discoveries, iust as, in order to judge rightly of 
the lustre of scarlet, we are. ordered to pass it lightly 
with the eye, and to run it over at several siudden 
rraeated views. If one book does not please me, I, 
take another ; but never meddle with any, except 
at those times when I begin to be weary of doing 
*^*rrS* ^ ^^ ^^* much relish the writings of the modems^ 
the writ- because I think the ancients fuller and more substan* 
fllSld^Vto **^ > neither am I fond of the Greek authors, my 
the mo- knowledge in that language being too superficial to 
^«"»- read them with delight. Among the books that are 
merely entertaining, I think those of the modems, 
viz. !E(occace's Decameron, Rabelais,* and the Basiat 
of Johannes Secundus (if these mav be ranged under 
that title) are worth reading. As to Amadis de 
Gaul, and such kind of writmgs, they had not the 
credit to take with me so much as in my childish 

* I mu3t declare here, by the way, that no body better understood 
ihe copiousness and energy of the French language, and so well 
found, his account in it, as Rabelais. This, which I take to be a 
very important remark, I borrow from Rousseau, one of the begt 
poets of this age. It was also undoubtedly known to La Fontainej 
whq has made a very good use of it. 

f This is a collection of epigrams on the subject of kusing, by a 
Dutch author, of which there have been sevei4l edftiont, jMUticu- 
larly one at Lyons, by Seb. Gryphius, in 1539, now become very 
scarce : which I do not mention to encourage anotlier impression of 
them, for I have no great relish for any Latinjpoetry composed by 
the moderns, not even for the poetry of Buchanan, Grotius^ 
Hemsius, &c. I mean with regard to the versification* 

w BddKS. 5 

Let me add, however rash the confession may ap- what be 
pear, that this old dull fancy of mine is now no longer ovi^X^ 
tickled with Ariosto,nor even with honest Ovid : histh«<*«^."o« 
easy style, and his imaginations, with which I was® *'*'^ *" 
formerly charmed, are scarce of any entertainment 
to me now. I speak my mind ireely of all things, 
nay, and of those that, perhaps, exceed my reach, 
and which I do not consider as being at aU within 
my sphere : and the opinion I give of them is to 
show the extent of my sight, and not the measure of 
its objects. When I find myself disgusted witn the 
Axiochus of Plato,* as a penbrmance which, with all 
due respect to such an author, has no spirit, I am 
not sure that my judgment is right. It is not so con^ 
ceited of itself as to set up against the authority of 
60 many other £imons judges of antiquity, whom it 
esteems as its regents and masters, afnd with, whom 
it had rather be mistaken. In such a case it re^ 
proves and condemns itself, either for stopping at 
the outward bark for want of power to penetrate to 
the pith, or for considering the thing by some &lse 
li^t It is contented with securing itself only frcmi 
trouble and irr^ularity ; and, as to its own weak- 
ness, it is sensible of it, and fixmkly confesses it. It 
thinks it gives a just intei^retation by the appear- 
ances formed in its conception, but they are weak 
and imperfect. Most of the fables of ^sop have se- 
veral senses and meanings, of which the mytholo^sts 
•choose some one that tallies with the fabte,. but, for 
the most part, it is only what presents itself at the 
first view, and is superficial, there being others more 
hvely, essential, and internal, into which they have 
not been able to penetrate ; and the case is the very 
same with me. 

But, to proceed on my subject : I always thought, tim utia 
that, in poetry, Virgil, Lucretius, Catullus, and Ho^^JU;^^ 
race excel the rest by many degrees ; and especially p»»ca in 

* The best critics ascribe thia dialogue not to Plato, but to 
^Bchines, a disciirfe of Socrates. 

6 OF B00K9. 

^•"^ Virgii, in his Georgics, which I esteem as the com- 
pletest work in poetry, in comparison with which it 
IS easy to discern some passages of the i£neid, to 
which the author would have ffiven a little more of 
the file, had he had leisure. The fifth book of the 
^neid seems to me to be the most perfect. I am 
also fi)nd of Lucan, and ofteti read him, not so 
much fo7 the sake of the style, as for his own worth, 
and the truth of his opinions and judgments. As 
for Terence* I think the delicacy and elegance of 
his Latin so admirably adapted tb represent our pas^ 
sions and manners to the life,* that our actions make 
me have recourse to him every now and then ; and, as 
dften soever a6 1 read him, x still discover some new 
grace and beauty. 
i^«*"w Sueh as lived in the age near Virgil's were scan* 
compared daliscd that any should compare Lucretius to him. I 
* n7ro^h **"' indeed, of opinion, that the comparison is very 
l^s Aa^ uneqii^l ; yet I can scarce settle myself in this be^- 
lief, when I am captivated with some of those fine 
passages in Luinretius. But, if they were so piqued 
at this comparison, what would they have said of* the 
brutish and barbarous stupidity of those who, at this 
hour, compare Ariosto to bimj and what woidd 
Ariosto himself say of it? 

seclum insipiens et wJUetum !* 
Oh sill^ senseless age ! 

Bad taite J think thc ancicuts had yet more reason to com-i 
wh?Sm- plain oif those who matched Plautus with Terence 
?iIuL»to (the latter being much more of the gentleman), than 
Tcrc^.** Lucretius with Virgil. It makes much for the ho- 
nour and preference of Terence, that the father of 
the Roman eloquence has him so often in his mouth, 
the only one of his rank that he mentions, as does 
the sentence which the chief judge t of Roman poe- 
try has passed upon the other. 

* Catul. Epigvam. xli, ver. 8. ' 

f Horace, who says, in his Arte Foetica, ven 270, &c,; 


I iiave often observed, that those of oftr tiin^ ^^^IJ^T^* 
have t^en upon them to write comedies (as the Ita^jion. 
liana, whoarever^ hf^ipy in dramatic compositions), JlJg^^^^ 
take in three or four arguments of those m TerencecatBYcn. * 
or Flautus to make one of theirs, and crowd five or***"- 
six of Boccace's tales into one single comedy. That 
which makes them load themselves with so much, 
matter is the difiidence they have of heiiv; able to 
support themselves bv their own merit. They must 
find out somebody to lean upon ; and, having not mat^ 
ter enough of their own to amuse us with, diey supply 
the defect with some tale. But the case is quite, 
contrarv with our author,* the beauty and perfec- 
tions of whose stvle make us lose the appetite for, 
his plot His elegance and delicacy captivate us 
in every scene, and he is so pleasant throu^out, 

LiquiduSg punHfue simiUinms amm,f 
Smoothly mnniDgUke a oyitKl ftream, 

and so possesses the soul with his<n*acesof diction, that 
we forget those of his &ble. This very considera- 
tion draws me on fiirther : I perceive that the good 
old poets avoided the affectation and pursuit not 
only of fantastic Spanish and Petrarchistt flights, but 
even of the sofler and sraver periods which have 
adorned all the poetry of the succeeding ages. Yet 
there is no. good judge who will condemn this in 
those ancients, and that does not incomparaUy more 

At nosiripfwm Plautinoi ei nvmerat, a 
Lmidavere tales^ mmium pdtienter taratjue» 
Nan dkam 9hd^^ mraiu 

A nd yet our tires with joy could Flautus hear ; 
Gay were his jests, has numbers chann'd their ear; 
JiQt roe not say, too lavishly they jprais'd. 
But sure their ju4giBent was full cheaply pleas'd. 

* Teraacc^ wbo is in ^ sai^e degree as inferior to the Greeks as 
he is superior to the modern poets tlutt Montaigne speaks of; for Te- 
rence has need sometimes of two Greek pieces to make up one Latia 
one* See the prologue to his EunuclL 

f Hor. lib. it. ep« 2, ver* 120. 

X Passionate IjUuH of I^orfn^ 

S . OP 6o^K§. 

admire the equal smoothness, and that perpetual 
Streetijess and beauty which flourishes m the ept- 

S£tms of Catullus, than all the stings with which 
artial has armed the tails of his. The reason is the 
same as I gave just now, and as Martial said of him^ 
self, in • preface, lib. viii. Minus itli ingenio labor- 
(tndum^fiiitj in cujus loctim materia successerat : ^ His 
** subject was so fruitftd, that he had the less need 
** for the exprcise of his wit." The epigrams of Ca- 
tullus make themselves sufficiently felt without being 
moved and disgusted; they have matter enough 
throughout to create laughter ; they need not raise 
the laugh themselves. Martial's epigrams have need 
of foreign assistance ; as they have the less wit,, they 
ittttsf have the more bulk ; they mount on horseback 
because they are hot strong enough to stand on their 
own legs. Ju«t so, in our balls^ those men of low 
degree who. teach to dance, because they cannot 
represent the port and decency of our gentry, en- 
deavour to recommend themselves by dangerous 
leaps, and other odd motions practised by tumblers: 
and the ladies come off better where there are seve- 
ral coiipees and j^tations of the body, than in some 
other formal dances, wherein they are only to move 
a natitfal pace, and to represent their oi:dinary grace 
and gesture. And so I have seen excellent tum- 
blers, dressed in the clothes which they wear every_ 
day, and with their usual' countenance, give us all 
the pleasure that their art is capable of, while their, 
apprentices, not yet arrived to such a degree of 
perfection, are* fain to meaj. their faces, to disguise 
themselves, and to use wild motions and grimaces to 
make us laugh, 
compari- This conccption of mine is no where so demon- 
»«n^«- strable as in the comparison of the ^Eneid and Or- 
iEnirdandlando Furioso. The first we see with expanded 
J[J^« ^Jj*j^-^ wings soaring aloft, and always stretching to its 
J Arlosto. point ; while the latter flutters and hops from tale to 
tale, as from branch to branch, not venturing to 
trust its wings bvit in very short flights, and perch. 

Mg at tvety ituiti^ lest It0 breath and strength should 


Etearsusipie breves tentat.* 

Those therefore, as to subjects of this kind, are the 
authors that please me best. 

As to my other reading, which mixes a Kttle more Books of 
profit with pleasure, and from whence I learn how toJ^y^J""' 
regulate my opinions and humours ;- the books which^hidi 
I apply to, for this purpose, are Plutarch (since he-i^"^^^ 
is translated into French) and Seneca : they are both reijuiaiehif 
remarkably adapted to my temper, forasmuch as the*^*°*"** 
knowledge which I there seek is communicated in 
loose pieces that are not very tedious to read, other- 
wise I should not have patience to look in them. 
Such are Plutatch's Opuscula, and the Epistles of 
Seneca, which are the most beautiful and profitable 
of all their writings. These I can take in hand, 
and lay aside at pleasure ; for they have no connec- 
tion ^ith, or dependence upon, one another. 

These authors generally concur in such opinions comparf* 
as are useful and true ; and there is this fartner pa-J^"eMPiii. 
jTallel betwixt them, that they happened to be born *««* »»<» 
much about the same time, that they were both the^"*^ 
preceptors of two Roman emperors, that both came 
from foreign countries, and that both were rich, and 
both great men. Their lessons are the cream of phi^ 
. losopny, and delivered after a plain and pertinent 
manner. Plutarch is more uniform and constant. 
Seneca more irregular and various. The latter toils 
with all his might, to arm virtue against frailty, 
fear, and vicioUs appetites. The former seems not 
to think their power so great, and scorns to hasten 
bis pace, and put himself upon his guard. Plutarch's 
opinions are Platonic, mild, and accommodated to 
civil society. The other's are Stoical and Epicurean^ 
more remote from the common usage, but I think 
them more advantageous in particular, and more 
3olid. It appears in Seneca, that he leans a little 

*^ Georg. lib. iv. ver. 194. 

10 OF BOOK8« 

to the tyranny of the emperors x>f his time^ since I 
take it for granted, that he spoke against his judg- 
ment when he condemns the generous deed of those 
who assassinated Caesar* Plutarch is frank every* 
where. Seneca abounds with flights and sallies, of 
expression. Plutarch with &cts. Seneca warms. and 
rouses you most ; but Plutarch gives you the most, 
satisfaction and profit. This leads us, the other 
pushes us. 
ifoo. As to Cicero, those works of his that can be of 

??nk»B ^^any use to me, are such as treat of philosophy, espe- 
thepbiior cially ethics or moral philosophy : but, not to mince 
workTcIf ^^^ matter (for when a man has passed the barriers 
cicTO. of impudence, he is not. to be curbed), his way of 
writing seems to me tedious, as does every other 
composition of the like kind : for the greatest part 
of his work is taken up in prefaces^ definitions, di- 
visions, aiid etymologies : whatever there is of life ' 
and marrow is smothered by the long-winded appa^ 
ratus to it. After I have spent an hour in reading' 
him (which is a great deal for me), and call to mind 
what juice and substance I have extracted from him, 
I find nothing in him but wind. for most part of the 
time ; for he is not yet come to the arguments that 
^erve for his purpose, and to the reasons that are 
proper for loosing the knot which I want to have 
untied. For my own part, who only desire to be- 
come more wise, not more learned or eloquent, these 
logical and Aristotelian rules are of no use to me; 
I am for an author that comes at once to the main 
point. I know so much of death and pleasure, that 
no man need be at the trouble of anatomising them 
to mc. I look for good and solid reasons at the 
entrance, to instruct me how to stand the shock of 
them ; to which purpose neither grammarian subtil- 
tics, nor the ingenious contexture of words and ar- 
gumentations are of any use. I am for discourses 
that enter immediately into the heart of the doubt, 
whereas Cicero's creep about the bush : they are 
proper for the schools, for tlie bar, and the pulpit. 


wkefe we have leisure to nod for a quartef of an 
hour, and to awake time enough to recover the 
thread of the discourse. It is necessary to talk after 
this manner to judges whom a man wouU gain over 
to his side, be it right or wrong ; to children, and to 
the vulgar, to whom a man must say aU he can, and 
wait for the event of it. - 1 would hot havie an author 
make it his business to render me attentive, and call 
out fifty times to me, with an O yes, after the man-^ 
ner of our heralds. The Romans said, in thdr reli- 
gion, ^oc agCy as we do in ours, sursum carda ; but 
to me these are so many words lost ; I come thither 
quite prepared for my lodging ; I need npallurement 
nor sauce; I eat the meat quite raw ; and instead of 
whetting my appetite hy these pre&ces and prologues, 
they overload and paH it. 

Win the license of this age excuse my sacrilegious Ami of 
boldness to censure the Dialc^es of Plato himself, olL'ogaei. 
as too long-winded, whilst his subject is much too 
stifled ; and to complain of the time spent in so 
many tedious and needless preliminary interlocutions 
by a man who had so many better things to say? 
My ignorance of the Greek, to such a de^ee as not 
to perceive any beauty in his language, wdl be a bet- 
ter e^ccuse for me : I am generally for books that make 
use of the sciences, not for tlidse that set them off 
Plutarch and Seneca, Pliny, and those of the same 
way of thinking, have no hoc age ; they choose to 
have to do with men who are already instructed; or 
if tkey have a hoc age^ it is a substantial one, and 
one that has a body by itself. 

I am also in love with the Epistles to Atticus, not AcommeiH 
only because they contain a very ample account of JjJJ*Jp2j[ 
the history and afiairs of his own time, but much ii«» to At. 
more because I therein discover the particular*'^"** 
humours of the writer; for I have a singular curio- 
sity, as I have said elsewhere, to know the souls and 
genuine opinions of my authors. Their abilities are 
to be judged of by the writings which they publish to 
the worlds but not their manners nor their persons^ 

la 09 BOOKS. 

I have a thousand times lamented ^e loss of tbe 
treatkie which Brutos iviote upon virttte, for it is 
good to learn the theory from those who understand 
the practice. But, forasmuch as there is a wide dif-^ 
ference between the preacher and the sermon, I like 
as well to see Brutus in Plutarch, as in a book of 
his own writing. I would rather choose to be trulv 
iQ&rmed of the conference he had in his tent with 
some of his private friends the night before a battle^ 
than the harangue he made to his army the next 
day: and of what he did in his doset apd his 
chamber, ratlier than of his action in the fbrum and 
the senate, 
dwincter As for Ciccro, I am of the common opinion, that, 
ttfckero. getting aside his learing, he had no extraordinary 
genius. He was a good citizen, and of an ai&bfo 
temper, as all fkt men, and such merry souls as his 
was, generally are ; but he loved his ease, and, to 
Bptak tine real truth, had a very great share of 
vanity and ambition.. Neither do I know how to 
Hii poetry. excuse him foT thinking his poetry* good enough to 
be published. To make bad verses is no great im- 
perfection, but it was an imperfection in him, that 
ne did not judge how unworthy his verses were of 
Hiseio- his glorious character. As for his eloquence, it is 
'°*'^*' beyond all comparison, and I believe it wiM never 
be equalled. Tne younger Cicero, who resembled 
his rather in nothing but his name, whilst a com- 
mander in Asia, had several strangers one day at his 
table, and in particular Cestius, seated at the lower 
end, as the open tables of the great are generally 

* Every body has not sad| a diradvBQtageous opinion of Cicero'ft 
poetry, tnere being, even at this day, very good judgea who esteem 
It ; and Plutarch says expressly, that Cicero was not only account- 
ed the best orator, out mo the best poet of the Romans, his cotem-- 
poraries. The ^ory of .eloquence, adds he, and the honour of 
speaking well, has been ever ascribed to him to this very dayi though 
there has since been a great alteration in the Latin tongue ; but his 
fame and reputation for poetry have been quite lost by the appear- 
ance of others since his time, much more excellent than he was,. 
£)icerQ*8 Life, chap. 1 of Amyot's trandalion* 

Of BOOKS* 19^ 

cto?rded« Cicero a^ed one of his waiters, ^^ Who 
that man was,*' and he readily told him his name ; 
but Cicero, as one who had his thoughts intent upon 
something else» and had forgot his name, asked niiat 
the same question again two or three times c the 
fellow, in order to be rid of the trouble of making 
the same answer over and over again, and to inq^rint 
the thing the more in his memory by some remarks 
aUe circimiitance, ^^ It is tiiat very Cestius," said he^ 
*^ who, as you have been informed, makes no great 
^^ account of your father's eloquence in comparisoQi 
*^ of his own." Cicero, being suddenly nettled at 
this, ordered poor Cestius to he seized, and caused 
him to be well whipped in his presence. A very 
uncivil faostl* 

Yet even amongst those who, all l^iin^ eonsi- cennrcn 
dered, have reckoned the doquence of Cicero ia-a4«^** 
comparable, there have been some who have not 
acrupled to find faults in it As, for example, his 
fiienii^ tiie great Brutus, who called hi^ eloquence, 
fractam tt tlumbem^ '* shattered and feeble.'* Hie 
orators also, in the next age to his, found feult with 
him for his affectation of a certain long cadaice at 
the end of his sentences, and particularly took 
notice of the words cast vxdtatur^X which he there- 
in so often makes use of. 7or my own part, I am 
fer a shcM'ter eadence, formed in the iambic style ; 
yet sonKtimes he shuffles the members of his 
sentence togeliier very roughly, though it is very 
-seldom. One instance of this dwells upon my ears, 
in the phrase. Ego verd me miniis diusenem esse 
snatkfHf quitm essesenem, antequhm essem : § ^^ For my 

* M« Senec. in fine Suasoriarum. 

f Sc^ the Dialogue De Oratoribus aive de Causis corrupUe Elo^ 
quentue, cap. 18. 

X Ibid, cap SS. 

§ I think this criticiani of Montaigne's a little too severe ; for, 
without considering that words of the same found in the Latin are 
ttreeable^ these ar^ not to be blamed because there is nothing in 
them that is quaint, or unsuitable to the atjrle of Cicero's conversa- 

14 OF books; 

*^ part, I had rather be old for a little fitne^ tftao to 
" be old before I am really so." 
Why Mon- The historians are the authors I am most used to^ 
i^f pieli" ft^r they are pleasant and easy ; and tfie knowledge 
iHi with of mankind in general; which is what I seek ibr, ap-< 
•"'"ory. p^^j.g more clear and perfect in history than any 
where else : there is to be seen the variety and re* 
ality of his internal qualities, in general, and in par^ 
ticular, with the diversity o£ methods contributing 
to his composition, and the accidents that threaten 
him. But they who write lives, by reason they take 
more notice of counsels than events, more or what 
proceeds from within doors than what happens with- 
out, are the fittest for my perusal, and therefore, of 
all others, Plutarch is the man for me. I am very 
sorry that we have not a dozen Laertiuses, or that 
he was not more extensive, or better understood* 
For I am equally curious to know the lives and for* 
tunes of those ^reat preceptors of the world, as to 
know the diversity of their doctrines and opinions* 
In the study of this kind of histories a man must 
tumble over, without distinction, all sorts of authors, 
both ancient and modem, in the barbarous as well 
as the current languages, to learn the things <^ 
which they variously treat. 
AcommcD. But Caesar, in my opinion, deserves particularly to 
t^^f be studied, not for the knowledge of the history 
cooiBieDta only, but for his own sake, heiias so much perfec- 
'*"' tion and excellence above all the rest, not excepting 
Sallust. In truth, I read this author with a little 
more respect and reverence than I pay to human 
compositions, considering him one whde personally, 
by his actions and his wonderful greatness; and 
another while by the purity and inimitable accuracy 
of his language, wherein he has not only surpassed 

tion throughout his work. Besides, if Montaigne was di^pisted ^itb 
the sameness of sound in those three words that follow so dose to 
one an6ther^ maUem, senem, essem^ he had nothine to do but to se^ 
parate ante from .quhm, ts it is in Gronovius's editioiw Cioeh> da^ 
• Senectute, cap. 10, 

D^ books; is 

all liistbrians, as Cicero says, but, perhaps, even 
Cicero himself. For he speaks of his enemies with 
so much sincerity, that, setting aside the false 
colours with which he endeavours to palliate his bad 
cause, and the corruption of his pestilent ambition, 
I think the only thing for which he is to be blamed 
is his spealdng too sparingly of himself; for so 
many great things could not have been performed 
under his conduct, if he bad not had a greater share 
in them than he attributes to himself 

I love histories that are either very plain, or of Mcrewri. 
distinguished excellency. The plain historians, who fa^u^^in 
have nothing of their own to insert, and w ho only ^^^ «•«- 
take the care and pains to collect every thing that l?rtVb^' 
comes to their notice, and to make a faithful register e«ie^n«-«i- 
of all diings, without choice or distinction, leave 
the discovery of the truth entirely to our own 

Such, for example, among others, is honest Fmissard 
Froissard, who has proceeded in his undertaking [fJI^^'n^^ 
^th such a frank plainness, that, when he has com- her, and 
mitted an error, he is never afraid to confess and ^J^"^***" 
-correct it in the place where it is pointed out to 
him ; and who even represents to us the variety of 
rumottrs that were then spread abroad, and the dif- 
ferent reports that were brought to him. Thus the 
matter of his history is naked and unadorned, and 
every one may profit by it, according to his share- of 

Excellent historians have the capacity of selecting wherein 
what is fi.t to be known, and of two reports to single ^?«eofciie 
out that which is most likely to be true. From the b«thiMo. 
condition of princes, and their tempers, they judge of"""*' 
their counsels^ and attribute speeches to them that 
are therewith consistent ; and such have a title for 
ass^iming the authority of regulating our belief by 
theirs, but certainly this is a privilege that belongs 
to very few. 

The historians of the middle class (who are the J^J^n? we 
most numerous) pervert us all. They aim to chew «<> ^ ^^ 

* plsed. 


the morsels for us ; they maJce it a law to themsdvea 
to judge of, and consequently to bend the history to 
their own fancy ; for, while the judgment leans on 
one side, the writer cannot avoid turning and wind-; 
ing his narrative according to that bias. They 
undertake to choose things worthy to be known^ 
yet often conceal from us such an expression, or 
such a private transaction, as would instruct us 
better : they omit, as incredible, such things as they 
do not understand, and some things perhaps too, 
because they know not how to express them in good 
language. Let tliem vaunt their eloquence and 
their reason with as much assurance as they please, 
and let them judge as they fancy ; but let them leave 
us something to judge of after them, and neither 
alter nor disguise any thing of the siibstance of the 
matter by their abridgments and their own pre- 
ference, but refer it to us pure and entire in au its 
dimensions. In these latter ages especially, the 
people who are most commonly appomted for this 
task are culled out. from the common people for ne 
other merit but their good style, as if we wanted 
them to teach us grammar ; and, as they are hire4 
for no other end, and vent nothing but tittle-tattle^ 
they are in the right to apply their thoughts chiefly 
to this point. Thus, with a fine flourish of words, 
they entertain us with a cuHous chain of reports, 
which they pick up in the public places of the 
w^atait The only good histories are such as have been 
^^^llbto- written by the persons tliemselves who had the di- 
rection, or were sharers ,in the management, of the 
affairs of which they write, or who happened, at leasts 
to have the conduct of others of the same kind.. 
Such are, in a manner, all the Greek and Roman 
historians. For several eye*witnesses having wrote 
of the same aflfair {as this happened at a time whe» 
grandeur and literature commonly met in the same 
person), if there happened to be an error, it must, of 
;|ieceasity, be a yery shght one, and about an event 



very dubious. What can one expect from a physi- 
cian who treats of war ; or from a student, in his 
closet, that undertakes to lay open the secrets of the 
cabinets of princes ? 

If we would take notice how religious the Romans Themi»- 
were in this point, there needs no more than this ^trbeen ' 
instance of it. Asinius PoUio • found,- even in?>*<^o^«rc<i 
Ca2sar*s Commentaries, a mistake which he had commen-* 
fallen into, either from not having Kis eyes .in all^"*"- 
the parts of his army at orice, and giving credit .to 
particular persons, who had not given him a true, 
accoiint, or else from not having been exactly in- 
formed by his lieutenants, of what they had acaje 
in his absence. By this we may see now hard a% 
matter it is to come at the truth, when one cannot. / 
depend for a right account of a battle upon the^ 
knowledge of the general who commanded in- it,/ .'. 
lior upon the very soldiers for w^hat passed nearj - 
£hem, unless, after the manner 6f examinations 
before a judge, the witnesses are confronted, and 
the objections admitted to the proof of the minutest 
circumstances of every event. In truth, the know- 
liedge we have of our own affairs is very imperfect. • 
But this has been sufficiently treated of by Bodin, 
and according to my own way of thinking. In order 
to give some little assistance to my treacherous me- 
mory, which is so extremely defective, that ft has 
happened to me, more tban once, to take books in 
my hand, as new arid altogether unknown to me, 
which I had read carefully a few years ago, and 
scribbled my notes in them, I have made it a 
practice, for some time past, to add, at the end of 
every book (I mean of such as I desire never to use 
but once), the time that I finished the reading of 
it, and the judgment I had formed of it in gross ; 
to the end that this may^ at least, represent to me 
the general air and idea wliich I had . conceived of 

. • In Suetoniu8*« Life of Julius Csesar, sect. 669 where the reader 
will find Pollio's criticism more severe than in Montaigne/ who, 
however, must have taken it from Suetonius. 

VOL. II. C 1 


the author when 1 read him. 1 will here transcribe 
sbme of those annotations for a specimen, 
urne'a re- ^ wrotc what foUows, about ten years ago, in my 
flMiiom ' Guiccjardin ; for, in what language soever my books 
"?2Uii^'^ accost me, I speak to them in my own : " He is a 
** diligent historiographer, and one from whom, in 
^* my opinion, we may know the truth of the affitirs 
** or his time as exactly as from any other; for in 
** most of them he was himself an actor, and in an 
'* honourable rank. There is no appearance that he 
^' has disguised things out of hatred, favour, or va- 
** nity, of which we have ample testimony in the free 
censures he has passed upon the great men, and es- 
pecially those by whom he was advanced and em* 
ployedinofficesof trust, namely. Pope Clement VII. 
** in particular. As to that part for which he seems 
** to have valued himself most, viz. his digressions and 
" paraphrases ; he has, indeed, some very good ones, 
** and enriched with beautiful expressions, but he is 
.** too fond of them : for, because he would leave 
*^ nothing unsaid, as he had a subject so copious, and 
" a field so ample, and almost boundless, he becomes 
** flat, and has a little smack of the scholastic 
•* prattle. I have also made this remark ; that of so 
" many men and things, so many motives and coun- 
" sols on which he passes his judgment, he does 
^* not so much as attribute a single motive to virtue, 
" religion, and conscience, as if they were all quite 
'* extinct in the world ; and he ascribes the cause of 
** all actions, how feir soever they appear in then*- 
" selves, to some vicious occasion, or view of prolit. 
*^ It is impossible to imagine but, among such an in- 
" finite number of actions, of which he gives his 
" judgment, there must be some one that was con- 
" ducted by reason. No corruption could have so 
** uniyersally infected men, but some one must have 
** escaped the contagion ; which makes me suspect 
^* that his own taste was a little vitiated, and it might 
V happen that he judged of other men by himself.'* 
Upon Phi In my Philip de Comines there is this written: 
miiKs.^*^ " You will here find the language smooth and agree- 


^ ble, with an artlesB simplicity ; the narration pure, 
" and in which the author's regard to truth is fully 
" displayed ; free from vanity when he speaks of 
^ himself, and from affection and envy when he 
*' speaks of another : his reasonings and exhortations 
" are accompanied with more zeal and truth than 
•* with any exquisite sufficiency, and with all that 
" authority and gravity throughout the whole, which 
** shows him to be a man of a good family, and that 
" has had no ordinary education." 

And this in my memoirs upon M. Du Bellay : * Upon the 
*«It is always pleasant to read things that are^*rByiu>f 
" written by those who have experienced how they 
** ought to be carried on j but it cannot be denied, 
" that in those two lords (William and Martin du 
" Bellay) there is a great declension from that free 
" and unconstrained manner of writing, which is so 
•* conspicuous in the ancients of their profession ; 
" such as M. de Jouinville, domestic to St. Lewis ; 
" E^nard, chancellor to Charlemagne ; and as 
" Philip de Comines of later date. This book is 
*' rather an apology for king Francis, against the 
*' emperor Charles V. than a histonr. I am not in- 
** clined to think, that they have &lsified any thing 
** as to the fact in general ; but they are dexterous 
** at wresting the judgment of events to our advan- 
*• tage, though often contrary to reason ; and of 
" omitting whatever is of a ticklish nature in the 
•* life of their sovereign j witiiess the retreat of 

* These Memoirs, published by Martin du Bellajt consist of ten 
books, of which the first four, and last three, are Martin du Bellay's ; 
and the others, his brother William de Lsung^y's, and were takei^ 
from his fiflh Ogdoade, from the vear 1536 to 1540. They are en* 
titled '' Memoirs of Martin du bellay, containing accounts ofse- 
*' veral things that happened in France, from 1513 to the death of 
** Francis L in 1547." From all this it is obvious why Montajgna 
speaks of two lords Du Beilay» after he had mentioned the memoirs 
pf M. Du. Bellay. I hdve made this remark, to save others fron^ 
the perplexity that I myself was involved in, at first, upon this oo 


30 6f cruelty. 

^' Messieurs de Montmorency and Brion, who stre 
" here omitted ; nay, the name of Madame de 
•^ Estampes is not so much as once mentioned. 
*' Secret actions may be concealed b^ an historian ; 
^* but to pass over in silence what is known to all 
** the world, and things too that have produced 
^' effects of such consequence, is a defect not to be 
** excused. In fine, whoever Would have a perfect 
^ knowledge of king Francis, and the anairs of 
•* his time, must, if he will take my advice, lopk 
** for it elsewhere. The only advantage he can 
" reap from this work is, by the particular account 
** of me battles and military achievements, in which 
*' those gentlemen were present ; certain expressions 
^* and private actions of some princes of their time, 
** and the practices and negotiations carried on by 
f* the lord de Langeay, wherein there are throughout 
" things worthy to be known, and reasonings above 
*' the vulgar strain." 


Of Cruelty. 

Virtue is V IRTUE seeitis to me to be quite another thing, 

whiairoiiuaud more noble than the inclinations that are innate 

ed^oodnfM in goodness. Those souls that are well tempered, 

^ '"^** and as tnily generous, pursue the same tract ; and 

their actions wear the same face as the virtuous. But 

the word Virtue impoits something, I know not 

what, that is more great and active than a man's 

suffering himself, with a happy constitution, to be 

gently and quietly conducted by reason. The 

person, who, from a mildness and sweetness in his 

temper, despises injuries received, performs a thing 

very amiable and commendable ; but the man, who, 

being provoked and enraged to the last degree by 


some offence, arms himself with the weapons of rea- 
son against a furious thirst of revenge, and, afler- a 
great struggle, at last masters his own passion, un- 
doubtedly performs mueh more. The first would do 
well, and the latter virtiiously. One action might 
be called good-nature, the other virtue. . For me- Virtiie not 
tliinks the very name of Virtue presupposes difficulty used S^ 
and o{>position, and cannot be exercised without "y^*?^ 
something to contend with. It is for this reason, ' ^ ^' 
perhaps, that we calj God by the attributes of goodj^ 
mighty, bountifitl, and just; but we do not give him 
that of virtuous, his works being all natural, and 
without any effort. The philosophers, not only the 
Stoics, but also the Epicureans (uud.this addition* I 
borrdw from the vulgar opinion, which is false, hot- 
withstanding the witty conceit of Arcesilaus, in 
answer to one, who, being reproached that many 
scholars went from his school to the Epicurean, but 
never any from thence to his school, said in answer, 
*• I believe it indeed ; numbers of capons being 
" made out of cocks, but never any cocks out of 
** capons t." For, in truth, the Epicurean sect is 
not at all inferioj'to the Stoic in steadiness, and the 
rigour of ojrinions and precepts. And a certain 
JStoic, discovering more hcmesty. than tiiose dis- 
putants, who, in order to qi^mrrel with Epicurus, 
and to throw the -game into their own hands, make 

* Montaigne stops here to make his exc^ise ior thus naming the 
Epicureans with the Stoics, in confonuity to the general opinion 
that the Epicureans were not so rigid in iheir morals as the Stoics, 
-which is not true in the main, as he demonstrates at one view. Tliis 
involved Montaigne »b a tedious parendiesis, during which it is pro- 
per that the reader be attentisre, that he may not entirely lose tlie 
thread of the argument. In some later editions of this author, it 
has been attempted to reoiedy this inconvenience, but without ob- 
£crving that Montaigne's argument is rendered more feeble and ob- 
jBcure by such vain repetitions : it is a licenee that ought not to be 
taken, because he, who publishes tlie work of another, ought to give 
it as the other composed it. But, in Mr. Cotton's translation, he 
was so puzzled with this enormous parenthesis, that he has quite 
Jeft it out. i • ; . 

f Diog. La^rt. in the Life of Arcesilaus^ lib.iv. sect 43. 


htm say what he never thought, putting a wrong 
construction upon his words, clothing his sentences, 
by the strict rules of grammar, with another mean* 
ing, and a different opinion from that which they 
knew he entertained in his mind, and in his morals, 
the Stoic, I say, declared, that he abandoned the 
Epicurean sect, upon this, among other considera- 
tions, that he thought their tract too lofty and inac- 
cessible i Et a qui fixiioyoi vacantur sunt ^iXcx^Aoi 
et 0i\oi!xxm^ omnesque virtutes et colunt et ratinent : 
** And those whom we call lovers of pleasure, 
^^ being, in effect, lovers of honour and justice, cul* 
** tivate and practise all the virtues;*' Cic. ep. 19. 
lib. XV.) several, I say, of the Stoic and Epicurean 
philosophers, thought ^at it was not enough to have 
the som in a good frame, well tempered, and well- 
disposed to virtue ; that it was not enough to have 
^ our resolutions and our reasonings fixed above all 
the efforts of fortune j but that it was ever necessary 
to seek occasions to make trial of them : they were 
for going in quest of pain, necessity, and contempt, 
in order to combat tnem, and to keep the soul in 
exercise. Multum sibi adjicit virtus lacessitd ;* 
** Virtue by being attacked becomes the more cou^ 
*' rageous.'* It is one of the reasons why Epami- 
nondas, who was also of a third sect,t refused the 
wealth which fortune put into his hand by very 
fair means, because, said he, I may be able to fence 
with poverty, in which extreme he always stood his 
ground. Socrates metliinks put himself to a severer 
trial, keeping, for his exercise, a shrew of a ^ife ; 
which was a trial with a vengeance. Metellus, the 
only one of ^1 the Roman senators, who attempted, 
by the strength of his virtue, to support himself against 
the violence of Satuminus, the tnbune of the people 
of Rome> who wj^s rpsolved by all means to get an 

♦Senecep. 18. 

t Of the JPythagorean sect Epaminondas, the Theban, says 
Cicero, was instructed by Lysis, a Pythagorean. Dc Offic. lib. i. 


unjustlaw passed in favour of the commonalty, havings 
by such opposition, incurred the capital punishments 
which Satuminus had established for the recusants.^ 
this very Metellus said to the persons, who, in this 
extremity, were leading him to the place of execu- 
tion: " That it was a very easy* and a base thing to 
*^ commit evil ; and that to do good, wher^ therp 
** was no danger, was a commpji thing ; but to do 
** good where there was danger, was the proper officp 
*' of a man of virtue." 'JThese words of Metellus 
clearly show what I would make out, that virtue re- 
fuses ease ibr its qompanion, and that the gentle 
ascent, that soft, smooth way, in which those take . 
their steps who are regulated by a natural inclination 
to goodness, is not the path of true virtue. This re- 
quires a ru^^ thorny passage, and wiQ have either 
difficulties from without to struggle with (like that 
of Metellus) by means whereof fortune delists to 
interrupt the speed of our career, or else intern^ 
difficulties that are introduced by the disorderly ap- 
petites and imperfections of our condition* 

I am come thus far at my ease ; but it just now^ ^^^ 
falls into ray imagination, that the soul of Socrates, JJ^h^^^of 
the niost perfect that ever has come to my know-8«j«^ 
ledge, would, by this rule, have little to recommend virtue b^ 
it ; for I cannot perceive, in this person, any cffi>rtj»"«^^ 
of a vicious concupiscence. In the course of his vir-bic 
tue, I cannot imagine there was any difficulty or 
constraint. I know his reason had so much sway and 
authority over him, that it would never have suffered -a 
vicious appetite so much as to rise in him. To a vir- 
tue so sublime as his I can set nothing in opposition. 
Methinks I see it stalk, with a victorious and trium- 
phant pac^, in pomp, and at ease, without molestation 
or disturbance. If virtue cannot shine but W strug- 
gling with contrary appetites, sliall we therefore say, 
that she cannot subsist without the assistance of vice, 
and that it is from thence she derives her reputation 

* riutarch, inUieLife of M^ius, ch. 10 of Amyot'j trondatioa^ 


'itnd honour ? What would become also of. that brave 
arid generous Epicurean pleasure, which pretends to 
flourish and cherish virtue in its lap, giving it shame, 
sickness, poverty, death, and hell ror toys to play 
wifli ? If 1 presuppose that perfect virtue is knowik 
by contending with, and patiently bearing, pain, and 
even ilts tif the gout, without being m^ved in its 
'seat; if I give it roughness arid difficulty for its ne- 
cessary object, what will become of a virtue elevated 
to such a degree, as not only to despise pain, but to 
rejoice in it, and to be delighted, with the racking 
'stitehes of a violent eolic, as is the quality of that 
virtue whjcA the ^icureans have establi.'^hed, and of 
which many of them, by their actions, have left very 
evident proofs ? As have many others, who I find 
have surp£^sed the very rules of their discipline: 
witness uie younger Cato-, when I see him dying, 
and tearing out his own bowels, I cannot be con- 
tented simply to believe that his soul was, at that 
time, -wholly: exempt from trouble and fear ; I can- 
not thiijki thait he only supported himself in this step, 
which was prescribed to him by the laws of the Stoic 
sect, quite serenely, without emotion or passion j 
there was, methinks, in that man's virtue too much 
sprightliness and youth to stop there. I make no 
doubt biit he felt a pleasure and delight in so noble 
an action, and that it was more agreeable to him 
than any thing he ever did in his life. Sic abiit h 
vitd ut causam moriendi nactum sc esse gauderet : 
" He went out of life in such a manner, as if he was 
*' glad he had found a reason fin dying."* And I 
really question, whether he would have been glad to 
have been deprived of the occasion of so brave an 
exploit:' and if that good-nature of his, which made 
him espouse the public benefit rather tlian lus own, 
did not restrain me, I should be ready to believe, 
that he thought himself obliged to fortune, for 
ha\ang put his virtue to so severe a trial, and f6r 

♦ Cic. Tusq, Quacst. lib. i. cap. SO. 


having favouted the robber* in trampling the ancient 
•liberty of his country under his feet. Methinks I 
read, in this action, I know not what exultation in 
his soul, and an extraordinary and manly emotion of 
pleasure, when he looked upon the noblenesB and 
sublimity of his undertaking: 

Dtlilernta mortefcrocior.f 

Grown fiercer now she Is resolved to die. 

Not stimulated by any hope of glory, as the vulgar 
and effeminate judgments of some men have con- 
cluded ; for the consideration is too mean to touch 
a mind so generous, so aspiring, and so obstinate; 
but for the very beauty of the ^ing in itself, which 
he, who had the management of its springs, discern- 
ed more clearly, and m its perfection, than we are 
able to do. It gives me a pleasure to find it is 
' the judgment of philosophy, t that so brave an action 
would have been indecent in any pther life than 
Cato's, and tliat it only became his to have such a 
period. However, as reason required, he com- 
manded his son, and the senators who accompanied 
' him, to take another course. Cat only quum incre- 
dibikm natura tribuisset gravitatem^ eamque ipse per- 
petud const antid roboravisset^ semperque in proposito 
' consiiio permansisset^ moriendum potius quam tyranni 
viittus aspiciendus erat : " Cato having been endow- 
>' ed by nature with an incredible gravity, which he 
^ had fortified by a perpetual constancy, without 
** ever departing from what he had once determined, 
^' he must, of necessity, rather die than see the face 

* C^esar» who^ notwithstanding the great qualities of his, which 
Montaigne set off with such lustre in the preceeding chapter, is here 
treated as he deserves for having coounitted the luost heinous of all 

t Hor. lib. i. od. 37, v. 29. 

X This is what Cicero says, in his Offices, lib. L cap. 51. Nonnun- 

quuu) mortem sibi ipsi consciscere alius debet, alius m eadem causik 

' non debet. Nam enim alia in caus^ M. Cato fuit, alia caeteri qui se 

in Africa Cssarl tradiderunt ? Atqui ca^teris forsitan vitio datum 

fsset si 8c interemi^scty &q. 


" df^the tyrant/' Every man's death must be suit- 
able to his life : we do not become other men by dy- 
ing. I always judge of the deatli by the life preced- 
ing ; and if any one tells me of a death that, in ap- 
pearance, wa3 accompanied with fortitude, ailer a 
life that was feeble, 1 conclude the cause that pro- 
duced it to be feeble, and suitable to the life before 
it. The easiness therefore of this death, and the fa- 
cility wliich he had acquired, in dying, by the vi- 
gour of his mind, shall we say that it ought to be 
the least abatement of thelusti*e of his virtue ? Who, 
that has his brain ever so little tinctured with true 
philosophy, can imagine Socrates pnly free from fe» 
and passion under the circumstances of imprison- 
The cheer- ment, fcttcrs, and condemnation ? Who is there that 
Si"i^8 atdoes not discover not only his stability and constancy 
his death (which was his common quality), but, likewise, I know 
rapeHorto^ot what frcsh satisfkctiou and joyous alacrity in his 
SmSi* last words and actions ? Bjr the pleasure he felt in 
scratching his leg, after his irons were taken off^ doas 
he not discover the like serenity and joy of soul, to 
find himself disengaged from the past inconvenien- 
ces, and on the point of entering into friturity? Cato 
may be pleased to pardon me, when I say his death 
was more tragical and lingering, but yet that of So- 
crates was, I know not how, more desirable, inso- 
much that Aristippus, hearing some pitying the man- 
ner of his death, said, " May the gods grant me 
*' such a death."* We discern in the souls of these 
two great men, and their imitators (for I very mucii 
doubt whether they ever had their equals), so per- 
fect a habit of virtue, that it was constitutional to 
them. It is not that painful virtue, nor the law of 
reason, to preserve which, the soul must "be, as it 
were, on the rack ; but it is the very essence of 
their souls, their natural and common practise : they 
|iave rendered it such by a long adherence to the 
precepts of pliilosophy, imbibed by a rich geniu^ 

* Diog. Laert. in the Life of Aristippus^ lib. iL eecU 76v 


and a generous nature. The vicious passions, that 
are bom in us, can find no entrance into their bi-easts: 
the fortitude and steadiness of their souls stifle and 
and extinguish carnal appetites as soon as they begin 
to be in motion. 

Now, that it is not more noble by a subUme and DWmat 
divine resolution, to hinder the birth of temptations, Jj'8'j^*' 
and to be so formed to virtue^ that the very seeds 
of the vices may be eradicated, than by mere force to 
hinder their growth, and, by giving way to the. first 
motions of the passions, be obliged to arm and op- 
pose their progress, and to conquer them ; and that 
this second enect is not also much more noble than 
to be only furnished with an easy debonnair temperi, 
disgusted of itself with debauchery and vice, 1 do 
not think can be doubted. As to this third and last 
sort of virtue, it seems, indeed, to render a man 
innocent, but not virtuous ; free from doing ill, but 
not apt enough to do good. Besides, this is a con- 
dition so nearly approaching to imperfection and 
frailty, that I know not very well how to distinguish 
the fimits. The very names of Goodness and Inno- 
cence are, for this reason, in some sort names of 
contempt. I perceive that several virtues, as 
chastity, sobriety, and temperance, may happen to 
us through bodily defects. Constancy in danger (if 
it must be so called), the contempt of death, pa- 
tience under misfortunes may happen, and are often 
^und in men, for Want of well judging of such ac- 
cidents, and conceiving of them as they really are. 
Dulness of apprehension and stupidity are therefore 
sometimes the counterfeit -of virtuous deeds. As I 
have often seen it happen, that men have had praise 
for what deserved censure. 

An Italian nobleman once made this remark, in wby the 
my presence, to the disadvantage of his countrymen,][|*''J" 
viz. That the Italians were so subtle, and so quick dent lu* 
of apprehension, that they forsaw dangers and acci-**'*'^*'''- 
dents, which might happen to them, at so great a 
distance, that it is not to be thought strange, if they 



I« what 

6ften went to war to. provide for their security, even 
before they had discovered the danger: that%e-(the 
French) and the Spaniards, who were not so cun- 
ning, were still more to be blamed, for that we must 
both see and feel the danger before it could alarm 
us, and that, even then, we were not resolute ; but 
that the Germans and the Swiss, being more heavy 
and dull of apprehension, had not the sense to look 
round them, even when the blows were dealt about- 
their ears* Perhaps he only talked at this rate by 
way of banter ; yet certain it is, that, in the trade of 
war, those who have not yet learned it, often rush 
into dangers with more temerity than they do after 
they are well acquainted with it : 

Hand ignarus quantum nova gloria in armis 

Et prceduUe decus primo certamine possiti* 

Knowing how much the hope of glory wanns 
The soldier in his first essay of arms. 

For this reason, when we woidd judge of any parti- 
cular action, we ought previously to consider the 
several circumstances, and the character of the man 
by whom it is performed. 

To say one word of myself, I have sometimes 
known my friends commend that for prudence in me 
which was mere fortune, and ascribe that to courage 
and patience which was owing to judgment and 
opinion, giving me one title for another, sometimes 
to my advantage, at other times to my detriment : 
as to the rest, I am so far from being amved to this 
. first and more perfect degree of excellence, where 
virtue is become a habit, that I have scarce made 
any trial of the second. I have made no great 
eflforts to curb the desires by which I have been im.- 
portuned. My virtue is virtue, or rather casual and 
accidental innocence. If I had been born of a more 
irregular constitution, I fear my case would have 
been very lamentable ; for I have scarce ever cxpe- 

* .%neid. lib. xL ver. 154, 15 J. 

OF Gbueltt. 29 

lienccd a fortitude of mind to resist passion^ tli^t 
were ever so Kttle vehement. I know not how to 
nourish quarrels and debates in ray own breast, so 
that I owe no thanks to myself if I am exempt from 
several vices: 

Si vitiis mediocribusj ac mea pmicis 
Mendosa est Tiaiura, alioqui recta (velut si 
Egfegio inspersos reprenaas carpwe navos) .♦ 

If trivial feults deform my upright soul. 
Like a fiiir face when blemish'd with a mole. 

i owe it more to my fortune than to my reason. I 
happened to be descended from a race famous for 
probity, and from a very good father. I know not 
whether he has entailed any of his humours upon me, 
or whether domestic examples, and the good instruc- 
tion I received in my infancy, have insensibly contri- 
buted to it, or else whether I was born so : 

Seu Libra, seu me Scorpizis aspicii . 
FarmidolosuSf pars violentior 
Natalis horee, seu tyranmts 
Hesperice Capricomtis vndce,\ 

Whatever star did at my birth prevail, 
Whether my fate was weigh'd m Libra's scale; 
Or Scorpio reign'd, whose gloomy pow'r 
Kules dreadful o'er the natal hour} 
Or Capricorn with angry rays, 
Those tyrants of the Western seas. 

But so it is, that I have a natural abhorrence for most 
of the vices. The answer which Antisthencs made 
to one who asked him, *• What was the best thing to 
" learn ?" viz. " To unlearn evtl,'*t seems very simi- 
lar to this representation. I have them in abhor- 
rence, I say, from an opinion so natural, and so much 
my own, that the very instinct and impression of 
them, which I brought with me from mv nurse, I 
still retain, no motive whatsoever having been effec- 

*JIorat.lib. i. sat. 6.ver.65| &c. 

,t Hot. iib.. ii..ode A7, ver. 17, ^C 

X Diog.' LaQrt. in the Life of Antjsthenes, lib. vi. sect 7. 


tual to make me alter it; nay, not my own dis- 
courses, which, by rambling, in some things, from 
the common road, might easily license me to com- 
mit actions, which such natural inclination gives me 
an aversion to. 
Mod- ^ What I am going to say is monstrous, yet I will 

^ifnUiw say it. I find myself, in many things, more curbed 
•otsoregu-and regulated by my manners than my opinion, and 
my concupiscence not so debauched as my reason. 
Aristippus established such bold opinions in favour 
of pleasure and riches, as made all the philosophers 
declaim against him : but, as to his manners, Dio- 
nysius the Tyrant having presented three beautiful 
wenches to him for his choice of one, he made an- 
swer, that he would have them all ; and that Paris 
was in the wrong, for>preierring one before her other 
two companions : but, when he carried them home 
to his house, he sent them back untouched : his ser- 
vant finding the money, which he carried after him, 
too heavy a load for him,* he ordered him to pour 
it out in the road, and there leave the quantity that 
encumbered him. And Epicurus, whose doctrines 
were so irreligious and effeminate, was, in his life, 
very devout and laborious : he wrote to a friend of 
his, that he lived upon nothing but biscuit and water, 
and desired him to send him a little cheese, to re- 
serve it till he had a mind to make a sumptuous feast. 
Must it be true, that, in order to be perfect, we 
must be so by an occult, natural, and universal pro- 
perty, without law, reason, or example ? The irre- 
gularities of which I have been guilty, are not, I 
tbank God, of the worst sort, and I have condemned 
myself for them, in proportion to the guilt of them, 
for they never infected my judgment. On the con- 
trary, I accuse them more severely in myself than in 
another ; but that is all, for, as to the rest, I oppose 
too little resistance, and too easily sufier myself to 

* Diog. Laert. in the Life of Aristippus, lib. ii, sect. 67—77, tnd 
Hon lib. iL sat. ili. ven 100, &c. 


incline to tlie other scale of the balance, only I mo- 
derate and prevent them from mixing witn other 
vices, which are apt to intwine with, and hang to, one 
another, if a man does not take care. I have con- 
tracted and curtailed mine, to make them as simple 
and uncompounded as I could : 

Nee ultra 

Nor do I indulge my error iarther. 

For aa to the opinion of the Stoics, who say, The bein^ 
•* TTiat the wise man, when he works, operates by^c*v?ct''* 
** all die virtues together, though one be most appa- ^^^ "^^ 
** rent, according to the nature of the action," (and,j;fa"nHabia 
as to this, the similitude of the human body might be*? *" ^»' 
of some service to them, because choler cannot ope- ^**^"" 
rate without the assistance of all the humours, though 
choler be predominant) if fi'om thence they would 
likewise infer, that, when the wicked man acts wick- 
edly, he acts by all the vices together, I do not be- 
lieve it to be merely so, or else I do not understand 
them, for, indeed, I find the contrary. These are some 
of those acute buttrifling subtleties which philosophy 
sometimes insists on. I am addicted to some vices, 
but I fly from others as much as a saint would do. 
The Peripatetics also disown this indissoluble con- 
nection and complication ; and Aristotle is of opi- 
nion, tliat a man may be prudent and just, and at 
the same time intemperate and incontinent. Socrates 
confessed to some who had discovered, in his physi- 
ognomy, an inclination to a certain vice, that he had, 
indeed, a natural propensity to it, but that he had, 
by discipline, corrected it : t and Stilpo, the philoso- 
pher's fitmiliar friendj used to say, that he was bom 
with an appetite both to' wine and women, but that, 
by study, he had learned to abstain from botb.T 

Wliat I have in me that is good, I ascribe it, on whatMoo- 
the contrary, to the lot of my birth, and am not be-^"«"*'" 

* Juv.'sat viii. ver. 194. f Cic Tusc Quest, lib. iv. cap. S7* 
^ Cic. Lib. de Fato, cap. 5. 

32 O^ CRtJEtTY. 

SHriftS ^^^^^ ^^r ^* either to law, precept, or any otlier in- 
io. * struction: my innocence is pertectly simple, with 
little assurance, and less art. Among all the vices 
I mortally hate cruelty, both by nature and judg-. 
ment, as the very extreme of all vices : but, withal^ 
I am so tender-hearted, that it grieves me to see the 
throat of a fowl cut, nor can I bear to hear the cry 
of a hare in the teeth of my dogs, though hunting is 
my most favourite diversion. . Such, as have sensual 
pleasure to encounter with, willingly make use of 
this argument, to show that it is altogether vicious 
and unreasonable ; that, when it is at the height, it 
masters us to such a degree, that reason can have 
no access to it; and they instance the commerce 
with the fair sex, 

Cum jam prctsagil gandia corfms^ 

Atque in :eo est Fettus, ut muliebrm cwiserai arva.* 

when they think that the pleasure transports us to 
such a degree, that our reason cannot perform its 
oi(fice while we are in such an extasy and rapture. 
He could I know, however, that it may be otherwise ; and 
^onc^ that sometimes a man has it in his power, if he will, 
impres- to tum his miud, even in the critical minute, to other 
piuiwe. thoughts ; but then it must be bent to it deliberately, 
and of set purpose. I know that a man may triumph 
over the utmost effort of pleasure. I have ex- 
perienced this myself, and have not found Venus so 
imperious a goddess, as many, and some more re- 
formed than myself, declare her to be. I do not 
think it a miracle, as the queen of Navarre does, in 
one of the tales of her Heptameron (which is a very 
pretty book for her subject), nor a thing of extreme 
difficulty, to spend whole nights, where a man has 
all the conveniency and liberty he can desire, with a 
long wished-for mistress, and yet be true to the pro^ 
mise he may have made, to satisfy himself with 
kisses and gentle squeezes of the hand. I fancy, 

• Luoret. lib. iv. vcr. 1009» &c. 

OP CEUELTt* tfr 

that the diversion of hunting would be more proper 
for the experiment, in which, though the pleasure 
be less, yet the rapture and surprise are the greater^ 
when our reason, being astonished, has not' such 
leisure to prepare itself for the encounter, wken^ 
after a long search, the beast starts up on a sudden, 
and, perhaps, in a place where we least of aU ex- 
pected it* Jibis shock, and the shouts of the hunters^ 
strike us to such a degree, that it would be difficult 
for such as are fond of Htm kind of chase, to ththk 
of any thing else at that very instant : abb the poeti^ 
make Diana triumphant over the torich and arrows 
of Cupid: 

Quis mm tnalarum, quas amor euros hahet^ 
Hcec inier obUvUcUvr ?* 

Amidst such happiness who will not ibrget 
The various cares of love's uneasy state ? 

"To return to my subject: I have a very tender hu tender* 
compassion for the afflictions of other persons, and j^'***- 
should readily cry, for company, i^ upon any occa« 
sion whatsoever, I could cry at all* Nothing tempts 
my tears but to see tears shed by others, whether 
the passion which produces them be real, or only 
feigned or counterfeit. I do not much lament the 
dead, and should rather envy them \ but I very much 
lament those who are dying. Tlie savages do not so 
much offend me in roasting and eating the bodies of 
the dead, as those who torment and persecute the 
living. I do not like to be a spectator of execu<« 
tions, how just soever they are.. A person having 
undertaken to set forth the clemency of Julius Cassar, 
** He was,** said he, " moderate in his revenge ; for 
*' having forced the pirates to surrender to him, 
^ those very pirates wno had before taken him pri* 
^^ soner, and put him to ransom, and having sworn 
** to hang them on a gibbet, he did, indeed, con« 
^ demn them to it, but it was after he had caused 

*Hor. Epod. od. ii. ver. S7, SS. 


" them to be strangled : nor did he punish his secre^ 
" tary Philemon, who had attempted to poison hiniy 
** with any greater severity than merely putting hiro 
*• to death.'* Without naming the Latin author,* 
who durst allege, as a mark of clemenev, the 
killing of those by whom we have been ofilendedy 
it is easy to guess that he was struck with the horrid 
and inhuman examples of cruelty practised by the 
Roman tyrants* 
TheezecQ. My opiuioH isy that, even in the executions of 
ti^'ouihTjustke, whatever exceeds simple death, is mere 
•^^"^^j^-eruehy, especially in us, who ought to have so much 
SJ^no ^respect to the souls, as to dismiss them in a good 
J^2a*^^ state, which cannot be when they are discomposed 
^* and rendered desperate by intolerable torments. 
Not long since a soldier, who was imprisoned for 
some crime, perceiving from the tower wherein he 
was confined, that the people were assembled at the 
place of execution, and that the carpenters were 
very busy, he thought that all their preparation was 
for his execution, and therefore resolved to kill 
himself, but could find nothing wherewith to do it 
except an old rusty cart-nail which he chanced to 
light upon : with this he first gave himself two great 
wounds in his throat ; but, finding this was not suf^ 
ficient, he soon after gave himself a third wound in 
the belly, where he left the nail stuck up to the 
head. The first of his keepers that came into his 
room, found him thus mangled, and though still 
isdive, yet fallen on the floor, near expiring by his 
wound!s. They therefore made haste to pass sentence 
on him before he should die, and thereoy defeat the 
law. When he heard his sentence, and that it was 
only to be beheaded, he seemed to take fresh 
courage, accepted of a glass of wine which he had 

* Tliis author whb Suetonius, wherein I remember to hare read 
this passage* though Montaigne chose to conceal his name ; and; 
upon consulting it, was enabled to correct a small error 1 found in 
all the editions of these Essays that I haveLSesen^ ^which write.Philo- 
mon for Philemon. 

Of 6RtJ£L'fr. 85 

before refused, and thanked his judges for the uhex-^ 
pectedmildiiess of their sentence, saying, ^^ That he 
^^ had taken a resolution to dispatch himself, for 
•' fear of being put to a kind of death more severe 
" and insupportable, having entertained an opinion, 
^^ from the preparations he had seen making in the 
^ place of execution, that he was to be put to some 
^' norrible torture/' And the man seemed to be, 
as it were, delivered from death by the change of it 
from the manner in which he apprehended it*. I 
would advise that these examples of severity, which 
are with a design to keep people in their duty, miffht 
be exercised upon the dead bodies of the criminals ; 
for depriving them of burial, and quartering and 
boiling them, would impress the vulgar aknost as 
much as the pains they see inflicted upon the living ; 
though, in effect, this is next to nothing, as is 
said m the Scripture, " They kill the body, but after 
'^* that have nothing more that they can do," Luke 
ToL ver* 4. One day, while I was* at Rome, I hap- 
pened to be going by just as they were executing 
Catena, a notorious robber. The spectators saw him 
strangled with indifference ; but when they proceeded' 
to quarter him, at every blow struck by the execu- 
tioner, they gave a doleful groan, and made such 
an outcry, as if every one had lent his sense of feel- 
ing to the miserable carcase. These inhuman ex- 
cesses oUght to be exercised upon the bark, and not 
upon the pith. Thus, in a case much of the same 
nature, Artaxerxes moderated the severity of the 
ancient laws of Persia by an order, that the nobilily 
i who debased themselves, instead of being lashed 
as they used to be, should be stripped, and their 
vestments whipped for them ; and that, instead of 
having the hau- of their heads plucked off, as was 
the practice, they should only take off their high- 
crowned tiarae.* The Egyptians, who affected to be 
so devout, thought they fully satisfied the justice of 

* Plutarch, ia hi9 notable sajingB of the ancient kingi. 

t9 6F CRtELTt. 

God by sacrificing swine to him in picture ai^ 
effi^.* A bold invention, to think to please the 
divine Being, a substance so essential, with picture 
and shadow ! 
inttancM I livc iu timcs that abound with incredible in- 
^uyr"' stances ©f this vice, owing to the lieentiousneas of 
our civil wars ; and I may challenge the ransacker 
of the ancient histwies to produce any passage more 
extraordinary than what we experience of it every 
day ; yet I am not at aJI reconciled I could 
scarce believe, till I had seen it, that there could be 
such savage monsters, who conld commit murder 
purely for the delight they took in itj and that, ironir 
that motive only, could hack and lop ofi' the limbs 
of their &llow*creatures, and rack their brains ta 
find out unusual torments and new deatl^, without 
enmity, without gain ; and only to feast their eyes 
and ears with the distressful gestures and motions^ 
ttid the lamentable cries and groans of a man in the 
agonies of deaths This is the utmost point to wl>ich 
cruelty can attain ; Ut hemo kominem mm hratusy non 
timensj tantiJim afectaturus occidat : i. e. ^^ That one' 
^' man should kill • anoth^ without being pushed 
*^ upon it by anger or fear, but only by a desire of 
•* seeing him die/' 
tlL*"V h ^^ my own part, it always gives me pain to see 
bJS?^' ^ a harmless beast, which is incapable of making any 
j^ ^ resistance, and gives us no oflence, pursued and wor- 
ried to death : and, as it often happens, that the- 
stag, when hunted till it has lost its breath and 
strength, finding no other remedy, falls on its back, 
and surrenders itself to its pursuers, seeming, witb 
tears, to beg for mercy, 

qticestuque cruentiis, 
Aique hnpbranti shnUis.f 

♦Herodotus (lib. iL p. 122.) says this was only done by the poorer 
sort, who made ^wine in doughy which they baketi, and tlien otFered 
in sacrifice. 

t i^ficid. lib.vxi» ▼tr.Wl, 502. 

^09* CRUKLTT* M 

T erer thought it a very unpleasant sight : I scarce 
take any beast alive, but I turn it abroad again i 
Pythagoras purchased fish and lowls alive for the 
wae purpose ; 

— — PftmoTiic a ccedeferarum 
Jncabdsse puto macidatum sanguine ferrum.* 

With slaughter of wild beans the sword began^ ' 
Ere it was drawn to shed the blood of man. 

They that thirst for the bloo4 of brasts discover a na- 
tural inclination to cruelty. After they had accus- 
tomed themselves, at Rome, ijo spectacles of the 
-slaughter of animals, they proceeded to that of men, 
and the combats of gladiators. Nature itself (I fear) 
has planted in man a kind of instinct to inhumanity: 
nobody is jfbnd of seeing beasts play with and caress 
one another, nor should any body take a pleasure in 
seeing them dismember and worry one another. That I 
may liot be jeered for my sympathising with them, we 
are enjoined to have some pity for tneii» by religion 
itself: and, considering that one and the san^e masr 
ter has lodged us in this world for bis service, and 
that they are of his family as well as we, it had rea^ 
son to command us to show some regard an(| affecir* 
tion for them. 

Pythagoras borrowed the doctrine of the Mcrpyth^fo- 
tempsychosis from the Egyptians ; but it was after- [JIJ^^^^;: 
wards received by severSTuatiQas, and particularly tra^i- 
by our Druids : fSil!"**' 

Marte carent aninue, amperque prlore reticta 
Sede, novis domibus vivunt^ habitanlque receptoff-f 

Souls ivever die, but, having left one seat. 
Into aew houses they admittance get/ 

: The priests of our aocient Qauls maintained, that 
aouls^ being eternal, never ceased tq remove and 
shift their stations from one body to another ; mix- ' 
)ng, moreover^ with this &ncy, some consideratioi} 

* Ovid. Metam. lib. xv« fab. 2, ver. 47, 48. 
f Chrid. MetauL Ub.xv. ftb. 8| y^r. «, 7f 

99 OF ceueltt; 

of the divine justice : for, according an the soul had 
behaved whilst it had been in Alexander, they said * 
that God ordered it to inhabit another body, more or 
less uneasy, and suitable to its condition : 

Cogit vincla patij iruculentos inherit tarsis. 
Prcedcmesque tupisyfallojces vulpilms addit : 

Atque tiln per varios oTinos, per millefiguras 
• Bgii, LetluBQpurgatasJlumine iandem . . 

Rursus ad kumanee revoccU primordiafomuBfi 

Tlie yoke of speechless bnites he made them wear> 
Bioodrthirsty souls he did enclose in bears ; 
Those that rapacious were, in wolves he shut i 
The sly and cunning he in foxes put ; 
Where, after having, in a course of years, 
In num'rous forms, quite finishM their careers. 
In iiethe's flood he purg-d them, and at last . 
In human bodies he the spuls replaced. . 

If the soul had been valorous, they lodged it in tht 
body of a lion ; if voluptuous, in that of a hog ; if 
timorous, in that of a hart or hare ; if treacherous, 
in that of a fox ; and so of the rest, till j purified by 
this correction, it again entered into some human 

fyse ego^ nam meminif Trqjani iempari lelli, 
Pantnoides Euphorbus ef'am,\ 

For I myself remember, in the days 
O'th* Trojan wwr, that I Euphorbus was. 

As to the kinged between us and the beasts, I lay 
no great stress on it, nor on the practice of several na- 
tions, and some, too, the nofost noted for antiquity and 
dignity, said to have not only admitted brutes to their 
society and company, but to have also preferred them 
to a rank far above tiiemselves ; some esteeming them 
as fiimiliars and favourites of th^ir gods, and paying 

* Claudian in Ruffin. lib. li. ver. 482, ^83, 484,— 491, 492, 493. 

f It is Pythagoras who speaks thus of himself, in Ovid. Metam. 

XV. fab. 3, ver. 8, 9. Would you know by what means Pythagoras 

f It is Pythagoras who speaks thus of himself, in Ovid. Metam. lib. 

^ fab. 3, ver. 8, 9. Would you know by what means Pythagoras 

could remember what he haa been in the time of the Trojan wa^; 

9ee Diog. Laert. in the Lifip of Py tb%ori»,. lib, viii^ sect. 4, 5* 


them respect and veneration more than human^ 
while others acknowledged no god nor deity but 

BellucB a Barbaris propter leneficium consecrates.* 

The Bartxtfjaas eonsecrated beasts tor the benefit they received 
by them. 

CrocodUon odor at 

Parshmc: iUapavetsaluramscrpentibusUnn$ 
Bffigies sacri nitet aurea cerccpitheci : ^ 

— — hkpiscemftumifiisy illic 

One large domain the crocodile adores^ 
That stnkes such terror on th'Ej^tian shores | 
Another clime the long-bill'd ibis dreads^ 
Which poisonous flesh of ugly serpents feeds 5 
Advance yet ferther, and your eyes behold 
The statue pf a monkey shine in gold ; 
A certain fish of Nile is worshipped here^ 
And there whole towns a snarling dog revere. 

The very construction that Plutarch puts upon this 
error, which is very well fiincied, is also to their ho- 
nour: for he says, that it was not the cat, nor the 
ox (for example) that the Egyptians adored, but 
that, in those brutes, they reverenced some image 
of the divine faculties.^ In the ox, patience and pro- 
fit ; in the cat, vivacity, or like our neighbours, the 
Burgundians, with all the Germans, an impatience 
of confinement,§ by which they represented the li. 
berty they loved and adored beyond every other fa.^ 
culty; and so of the others, fiut when, amongst 
the more moderate opinions, I meet with arguments 
to demonstrate the near resemblance between us and 
animals, and what a share thev have in otur greatest 
privileges, it really very much abates my presump- 

* Cicer. de Nat. Deo. lib. i. cap. S6. 
t Juv. saL XV. ver. 2, S, 4-, — 7t 8. 

^ In his treatise of Isis and Os^risy ch. 39 of Amyot's translation, 
§ A passion natural to cats, which cannot endure to be pent up in 


tMMi, md I am rendy to resign that imaginary toy* 
altv which is ascribed to us over the other creatures, 
^eooght Be all this as it will, there is, nevertheless, a cer^ 
a^e ro. tain kind of respect, and a general obligation of hu« 
SM^bf^te ^^^^*y» which attaches us, not only to the beasts 
diat have life and a sense of feeling, but also to trees 
imd plants. We owe justice to men, and favour and 
^ood usage to other creatures that are susceptible of 
ft : there is a certain correspond^ce, and a mutual 
obligation between them and us. I am not ashamed 
to confess, that such is the tenderness of my nature, 
that I cannot well refuse to play with my dog when 
he caresses me, or desires it> though it be out of 

The Turks have alms-houses and hospitals for 
^^ci beasts. The Romans made public provision for the 
thu ion of nourishment of geese, after the watchfulness of one 
fnftet. ^£ iJiem had saved their Capitol. The Athenians 
fnade a decree, that the mules* which had been em- 
played in the building of the temple, called Heca» 
tpmpedon, should be free, and allowed to graze 
any where without molestation. It was the common 
practice of the Agrigentinest to give solemn inter* 
ment to their favourite beasts, as horses of some rare 
qualities, dogs, and birds, which they made a profit 
of, and even such as had served for the diversion of 
their children: and the magnificence which they 
commonly displayed in all other things, appeared 
particularly in the number of postly monuments 
erected to this very purpose, which remained forasbow 
several ages aiier. The Egyptians^ interred wolves, 
bears, crocodiles, dogs, and cats in sacred places, 
embalmed their bodies, and wore mourning at their 
death. Cimon^ gavell an honourable burial to the 
piares with which he had won three prizes, at tije 

* PJutarch, in the Life of Cato the CenspTy ch. 5. 
f I>iodoru8 of Sicily, lib. xiii« cap. !?• % '^^ 

$ Father of Miltiftdes, Herodot. lib^ vLp .. ilS. 
II ^erpdot. lib. ii. p. 129. 


Olympic races. Old Xanthippus ^ caused his dog 
to be buried on a promontory near the sea sidC) 
which has, ever since, retained its name. And 
Plutarch II says, that he made conscience of selling 
and sending to the shambles, for a small profit, an 
px that had served him a good while. 


An Apology for Raimond de Sebonde. 

JLiEARNING is, in truth, a possession of vtryLatr^ng, 
great importance and utility, and they who despisejJ^JJ^" 
it, plainly discover their stupidity; yet I do Bot 
prize it at that excessive rate as some men do, parti* 
eularly Herllhisthe philosopher, who therein placed 
the sovereign good, and maintained, that it was 
alone sufficient to make us wise and happy ; which I 
do not believe, nor what has been said by others, 
that learning is the mother of all virtue, and that all 
vice is produced from ignorance. If this foe true, it 
is a point liable to a tedious discussion. My house 
has been a long time open to men of learning, uid 
]8 very well known by them ; for my father, who 
iras tne master of it fifty years, and more, beins 
wanned with that zeal with which king Francis L 
had newly embraced literature, and brought it into 
Esteem, spared no pains nor expense to get an ac* 
quaintance with men of learning, treating them, utr 
his house, as persons sacred^ who had divine wisdom 
by some special inspiration, collecting their sentences 
and sayings as so many oracles, and with the more 
veneration and religion, as he was the less qualified 
to judge of them ; for he had no knowledge of. let- 
ters any more than his predecessors. For my part, 

f PlutsrcM Cato tke Censor. f Ibid. 


I love them very well, but do not adore them. 
Aihongsit others, Peter Bunel, a man of great repu- 
tation for learning, in his time, having, vnth others 
of his class, spent some days at Montaigne with my 
lather, presented him, at his departure, with a book^ 
rf rjT*^'* entitled, Theologia Naturalisy sive Liber Creatu- 
maod'de rarutH Magistri Raimondi de Sebonde : i. e* ** Natural 
sebMide. ^ Theology, or a Treatise on the Animal Creation, 
by Master Raimond de Sebonde." As both the 
Italian and Spanish languages were familiar to my 
Either, and the book was written in Spanish, larded 
with Latin terminations, M* Bunel hoped that, with 
a very little assistance, my father would make it turn 
out to his account ; and he recommended it to him 
as a very useful book, and proper for the juncture of 
time in which he gave it to him, which was when the 
innovations of Luther began to be in vogue, and in 
many places to stagger our ancient faim. Herein 
he judged very right, forseeing plainly, by the dic- 
tates of reason, diat, as the distemper appeared at 
its breaking out, it would easily turn into execrable 
atheism : for the vulgar, not being qualified to judge 
of things as they are in themselves, but being go- 
verned by accidents and appearances, after they 
have been once inspired with the boldness to contemn 
and controul those opinions which they held before 
in extreme reverence, particularly sudfi as concern 
their salvation, and, after any of the articles of their 
religion are brought into question, are soon apt to 
r^ect all the other articles of their belief, as equally 
uncertain, and shake off the impressions they had 
received from the authority of the laws, or the reve- 
rence of ancient custom, as a tyrannical yoke : 

Nam cupide conadcaiur nimis anti mettUwn.* 

For with most eagerness they spurn the kWj, 
By which they were before most kept in awe : 

resolving to admit nothing, for the future, without 
* Lucret, lib. v. ver, 1 1S9< 


the interposition of their own decree and particular 

My father, a few days before his death, happening Translate* 
to meet with this book under a heap of other papers gp^^h^ 
that were laid by, commanded me to translate it for »nto 
bim into French. It is good to translate such authors M7utlignl% 
as this, wherein there is scarce any thing to repre- 
sent, except the matter; but as for those books 
wherein the grace and elegancy of language are 
mainly affected, they are dangerous to undertake, 
for fear of translating them into a weaker idiom. It 
was an undertaking new, and quite strange to me ; but 
happening, at that time, to have leisure, and not 
b^g able to resist the command of the best &ther. 
that ever was, I did it as well as I could, and so 
much to his satisfitction, that he ordered it to be 

frinted, which also, after his death, was performed.* 
was charmed with the author's fine imagination, 
the regular contexture of his work, and the extraor- 
dinary piety of his design. Because many people 
take a pleasure in reading it, particularly the ladies, 
to whom we owe most service, I have often been 
ready to asdst them, in defeating two main objec* 
tions to this their favourite author. His design is 
bold ; lor he undertakes to establish and verify all 
the articles of the Christian reUgion, against the 

* Montaigne, speaking of this first edition of it in the first edition 
4^f his Essays, at Bourdeaux, in 1580, and that of 15S8, in quarto, 
says, it appears to have been carelessly printed, by reason of the in- 
finite number of errors of the press, committed by the printer, yrho 
had the sole care of it. This translation was reprinted, and, no 
doubt, more correct^, because Montaigne has purged it of the 
printer's errors in the former* I have an edition printed at Paris in 
1611, and said to be translate4by Michael Seignour de Montaigne, 
knight of the king's orderp, and a gentleman of his chamber in or- 
dinary ; the last edition revised and corrected. And, indeed, this 
is a very correct edition. There is such a perspicuity^, spirit, and na- 
tural vivacity in this translation, that it has all the air of an originaL 
Montaigne has added nothing of his own to it, but a short dedica- 
tion of it to his father, wherein he owns, that he undertook this 
work t>y his order. The reader will find this dedication at the end of 
^he third volume of this edition of the Essays. 


atheists^, from reasons that are human and natural ; 
wherein, to say the truth, he is so successful, that I 
do not think it posl^ible to do better upon the subject, 
and believe that he has been equalled by none,* 
This work seeming to me too sublime and too elegant 
for an author whose name is so little known, and of 
whom all that we learn, is that he was a Spaniard, 
who professed physic at Thoulouse about two hun- 
dred years ago, I once asked Adrian Turnebus, a 
man of universal knowledge, what he thought of this 
treatise. The answer he made to me was, that he 
believed it to be some extract from Thomas Aquinas; 
for that, in truth, none but a genius like his, ac- 
companied with infinite learning, and wonderful sub^ 
tlety, was capable of such ideas* So it is, that, be 
the author and inventor who he will (though without 
greater reason than has yet appear^, it would not 
be right to strip Sebonde of this titled he was a man 
of great sufficiency, and of very fine parts. 
TiMJ objec. The first fault they find with nis work is his assert- 
Sihe'b!lSk;ing» " That Christians are in the wrong to endea* 
aod Mod-* << youT to make humau reasoning the basis of their 
wIST*""** belief, since the object of it is only conceived by 
^^ faith, and by a special inspiration of tlie divine 
^ grace.*' In this objection there seems to be a 
pious zeal, and, for this reason, it is absolutely ne- 
cessary that we should endeavour, with the greatest 
mildness and respect, to satisfy those who have ad« 
vanced it. This were a task more proper for fi man 
well versed in divinity, than for me who know no^ 
thing of it. Nevertheless, this is my judgment, that, 
in a point of so divine and sublime a nature, and so 
&r transcending human understanding, as this truth, 
with which it has pleased the divine ^goodness to 
enlighten us, there is great need that he should alsQ 

* Grotius's treatise of the Truth of the Christian Religion was nof 
^t published, wherein that great man expressly says, that this 6ub> 
jeet had been before treated by Eannond de. Sdspnde, Phifotophic4' 
* Subtilitatc. 


lead U8 ihe assistance, in the way of an extraordi^ 
nary &vour and privilege, to enable us to conceive 
and imprint it in our understandings, of which I do 
nf>t think means merely human are^ in aily sort, ca- 
pable of doing; for, if they were, so many men of 
rare and excdlent talents, so abundantly furnished 
with natural abilities, in former ages, had not failed 
to attain to this knowledge by the light of reason« 
It is by &ith alone that we have a lively and certain 
comprehensioai of the sublime mysteries of our reli- 
gion ; not but that it is a very laudable attempt to 
accommodate also the natural and human talents, 
which Crod has given us, to the service of our faith: 
it is not to be doubted, that this is the most noble 
use that we can .put them to, and that there is no 
employment nor design more wortliy of a Christian, 
than to aim, by all his studies and meditations, to 
illustrate, extend, and amplify the truth of his be- 
lief- We do not content ourselves by serving God 
with our hearts and understandings ; we, moreover, 
owe and render him corporeal reverence ; we apply 
our very limbs, and our external motions, &c. to do 
him honour ; we must here do the same, and accom- 
pany our faith with all tlie reason we have, but al- 
ways with this reserve, not to £mcy that it depends 
upon us, nor that our efforts and arguments can at^ 
tain to knowledge so supernatural and di\ inc. 

If it enter not into us by an extraordinary infu^ 
fusion, if we attain to it only by reason, and by 
human means, we do not comprehend it in its native 
dignity and ^lendour ; and yet I really am afraid 
that weonlv possess it by this canal. If we laid hokl 
upon God Dy the mediation of a lively faith, and not. 
throujB;h our own merits ; if we had a di\ine looting 
atad foundation, human accidents would not haite 
the power, to shake us a9 they do ; our fortress would 
not oe the conquest of so weak a battery : the love 
of novelty, the constraint of princes, the success of a 

a^ the rash and fortuitous change of our opintoa<«, 
1 not have power to stagger and alter our faith: 


we should not then leave it to the mercy of some 
new argument, and abandon it to the persuasion 
even of all the rhetoric in the world : we snould bear 
jup against those waves with a resolution inflexible 
and immovable ; 

lUisosftuctiLS rapes ut vasta refundit, 
^t varias circum latrcmtes dissipat undas 
Mole suS.* 

As a vast rock repels the rolling tides 
That dash and foam against its flinty sides 
By its own bulk. 

Agoodrifo If this ray of divinity glanced upon any part of 
Sl^Tcih^ us, it would illuminate the whole man ; not only our 
tMoiiy. words, but our works also would shine with its 
brightness and lustre ; every thing that proceeded 
from us, would be enlightened with this noble splen- 
dour. We ought to be ashamed, that in all 
the human sects, there never was a man, notwith- 
standing the absurdity and novelty of the doc- 
trine which he maintained, but conformed his 
manner of life to Christianity in some measure i and 
that so divine and heavenly an institution should only 
distinguish Christians by the appellation. Would 
* you see a proof of this ? Compare our manners with 
those of a Mahometan or Pagan : you will after all 
come short of them in that very pomt^ where, in re- 
gard to the advantage of our religion, we ought to 
outshine them beyond all comparison ; and it must 
be said. Are they so good, so just, so charitable ? they 
are therefore Christians. An other appearances are 
common to all religions : hope, trust, events, cere- 
monies, penances, martyrdoms, &c. The peculiar 

* These Latin verses are by a modem poet, who borrowed the 
sentiment, and most of the words, from those fine lines of Virgil^ 
lUe^ vebit pelagi ntpes immota^ resUlU: 
Ui pelagi rupes^ magno vemenUjragwref, 
Qua sese^ mukis circuimlatrantibus undu^ 
Mole tene t ^neid. lib. vii. ver. 587—^91 » te. 

. In some of Montaigne's editions we are referred to this phtce m 
Virgiiy as if Montaigne had reallj quoted him. . • 


tbaracteiistic of our truth ought to be otir virtue, as 
it is also the most celestial and difficult mark, and the 
best fruits of truth. However, when that king of 
the Tartars, on his embracing Christianity, designed 
to repair to Lyons to kiss the Pope's toe, and to be 
an eye-witness of the sanctity which he expected to 
find in our manners, our good St. Lewis* was in the 
right to divert him from it instantly, lest our licen- 
tious way of living should put him out of conceit 
with so hohr a befief : yet the very reverse of this 
happened afterwards to another, who, going to Rome 
for the very same purpose, and observing the disso- 
lute lives of the prelates and the laity of that time, 
was the 'more firmly established in our religion, by 
considering how great the power and divinity of it 
must be to maintain its dignity and splendour, in a 
sink of so much corruption, and in such vicious 
hands. ^' If we had but one single grain of faitli, 
^^ we should be able to remove mountains from their 
** places,*' says sacred writ ; our actions, which would 
then be directed and accompanied by die divinity, 
would notbe merely human, but would nave something 
in them of the marvellous, as well as our belief 
Brevis est institutio vitce honesta beataqucj si ere- 
das : " If thou believest, thou wilt soon learn the 
5* duties of an honest and happy life/* Some im- 
pose upon the world that they believe what they do 
not believe ; while others, more in number, make 
themselves believe that they have faith, not being 
able to penetrate what it is to believe. 

We think it strange, if, in the civil war which at 
this time distresses our state, we see events float and 
vary, after the common and ordinary way ; and the 
season is, because we bring nothing to it but our 
own. Justice, which is in one of the parties, is onlyCbd gim 
there for ornament and a cloak: it is indeed well ^0^1^*^^ 
urged, but is neither received, settled, nor espoused "«*»«>»«•' 
by it. It is the same with that party, as words aregto^*^ ^^^ 

* Jouaville, ch. 1 9, p. 88, 89. 


in the mouth of an advocate^ not a^ in the heart and 
afiection. God owes his extraordinary assistance to 
faith and religion, not to our passions. 
Men mftke In the latter, men are the guides, and therein 
«j^<>[^'*"- they make use of reliffion, though it ought to be 
Sfjthek^ quite the contrary. Observe if it be not by our 
!^';]IIS!"^ hands that we train it, like soft wax, to represent 
*""*"*"' so many contrary figures from a rule so straight and 
firm. When was this more manifest than now-a^days 
in France ? The heterodox, and the orthodox, they 
who call white black, and black white, employ it so 
much alike to serve their violent and ambitious 
undertakings, and proceed with such a conformity 
of riot and injustice, that their pretended diflference 
in opinions, in an afiair whereon depend the conduct 
and rule of our life, is thereby rendered doubtful, 
and hard of belief Is it possible for a greater unifor- 
mity and sameness of manners to proceed frcmi one 
and the same school and discipline ? observe with 
what horrid impudence we pelt one another with 
divine arguments, and how irreligiously we have re« 
jected and resumed them, just as fortune has shifted 
our station in these public storms. This so solemn 
a proposition, ** Whether it is lawful for a subject to 
*^ rebel, and take arms against his prince for the de- 
•* fence of religion ?** do not you remember in 
whose mouths last year the affirmative of it was the 
prop of one party, and the negative the pillar of the 
other ? and hearken now from* what quarter comes 
the votes and instruction both of the one and the 
other, and whether the guns roar less for this cause 
than for that. We condemn those to the flames, 
who say, that " Truth must be made to bear the 
** yoke of our necessity ;" and yet does not France 
act worse ifaan merely saying it ? let us confess the 
real truth ; whoever should make a draught from the 
army, which is raised by lawful authority, of those 

* Here Montaigne (as Mr. Bayle says, in his Dictionary, at tbt 
afliclc Hotman, Nole 1,) gently lashes the Catholics. 


who serve in it out of a pure zeal for religion, and of 
those also who have only in view the protection of the 
laws of their countiy, or the service of their prince, he 
would not be able, from both mustered together, to 
form one complete company of gens d'arm?. Whence 
now does this proceed, that there are so few to be 
found who have maintained the same purpose, and 
the* same progress in our public commotions, and 
that we see them one while jogging but a foot-pace^ 
and another while riding fiill speed ; and how comes 
it that we see the same men spoiling our aflbtrs at 
one time by their violence and acrimony, at another 
time by their coldness, indolence, and dulness, hut 
that they are swayed by partial and casual considar^ 
ations, according to the variation of which they move* 

I see plainly that we do not willingly afford devo» ^^ «c«i 
tion any other offices but such as flatter our pas»^rb^i«M 
sions. There is no wai&re so excellent as that of[«"*f in- 
die Christian. Our zeal performs wonders, when it?||7^.^ 
seconds our inclination to hatred, cruel^, jambition, 
avarice, detraction, rebeUion, &c. tfut if it be 
turned against the grain, to^vards good-nature, be*^ 
nignity, temperance, &c. unless, by a miracle, some 
uncommon disposition prompt us to it, it stirs 
neither hand nor foot Our religion, which is framed 
for the extirpation of vices, screens, nourishes, and 
incites them. We must not mock God. If we be- 
lieved in him, I do not say by &ith, but with a sini- 
pie belief, nay (to our great shame I speak it), if we 
believed and acknowledged him as we do any other 
historvy or as any of our companions, we should , 
love him above all other things, for the infinite 
goodness and beauty that shine in him ; at least he 
would have the same rank in our affections, as 
riches, pleasures, glory, and our friends. The best 
of us all is not so much afraid of offending him, as 
offending a neighbour, a parent, or a master. Is 
there a man of so weak understanding, who, hav* 
ing any of our vicious pleasures in view on one side, 
and, on the other, as full a knowledge and persua* 

VOL. ii« £ 


iion of a state of a glorious iniinOrtalitv, would be 
willing to exchange the one for the other ? and yet 
we oiten renounce the latter, out of merecontem;A; 
for what lust tempts us to blaspheme, if not, per- 
haps, even the desire of ofiending i While the priest 
was initiating Antisthenes the philosopher in the 
mysteries of Oipheus^ and telling him, that they 
who devoted themselves to that religion^ were to 
receive eternal and perfect^ happiness after their 
death ; the philosopher said* to nim, ^^ If thou be* 
•* lievest it, why dost not thou thyself die ?" Diogenes, 
more bluntly, according to his manner, though not 
so much to our present purpose, saidt to the priest^ 
who made the like speech to him, that he should 
enter into his order, if he would be happy in the 
other world ? ** Wouldst thou make me beUeve, that 
*^ two such great men as Agesilaus and Epaminondas 
^ will be miserable ; and that thyself, who art but a 
*^ calf, and canst do no good, shah be happy, be- 
" caiise thou art- a priest?*' If we received these 
great promises of everlasting happiness, iivith the 
same deference as we do a philosophical lecture, we 
-yhould not be so horribly anaid of death : 

Konjam se moriens dissolvi cenquereTetur^ 

Sed magis ire for as^ vestemque relinguerevt an^is 

Gtuideretf pralonga senex aut cortiU cervus.X 

We should not on a death-bed grieve to be 
Dis9oiv*d, but rather launch out clieerfuUy 
From our old hut, and with the snake be glad 
To cast oiT the corrupted slough we had ; 
Or with th* old stag rejoice to be now clear 
From the large horns too pondVous grown to bear, 

•f lam willing to be dissolved," we should say, " and 
•* to be with Jesus Christ/'S The force of Plato's 
^arguments for the immortality of the soul actually 
made some of his disciples dispatch themselves, that 

f Diog. Laert in the Life df Antis^thenes, lib. vi. sect. 4^ 
f Idem, in the Life of Diogenes the Cynic lib. vi. sect. 39« 
I Lucret. lib. iii. ver. 612, &c. 
J) St Paul's Ep. to the Philippians^ chap, i* ver, ^ - 

tkey iQight the sooner enjoy the hep& he rgave 
them. ' . .. 

All this yery rplainly demonstrates, that we oplyThefoand. 
lecewB our religion after q^t own Jfoshion, and by our;*^^^^^^^* 
^ora hands, ^d no otherwise/th^n as other religions,oftbeCbris. 
are received. Whether we happen to be in cpuntries.^*",^**"" 
where it is in practice ; whether we h^ve a venera- 
tion fi>r the antiquity of it, or for the authority of 
the professors off it j whether we fear the menacest 
whiph it fulminates gainst unbelievers, or are en*> 
couraged by its promises : these things ought to be. 
considered pnly as « auxiliaries to Q]xt faith, fox they, 
are obligations altogether human* /Another cQunt^,. 
other evidences, the like pomi^es and threatenings^. 
might, by the same rule^ unprint a belief quite cqu- 
trary. We are Christians by the san^e title as we, 
are either J^erigordins, or Germans : and what Plato, 
says, that there are few men so obstinate in ath^sm,; 
hut a pressing danger will reduce them to an ac-, 
knowledgment of the divine power, does not relate 
to a true Christian : it is for mortal and human r.eUr 
gions to be reoeiyed by human recommendation., 
What kind of fitith must that be which is planted smd* 
established in us by pusillanimity and cowardice?, 
a pleasant faith, that only believes in its object, for 
want of the courage not to believe it ! Can a vicious 
passion, such as inconstancy and astonishment, pro- 
duce any thing regular in our minds ? The athei^sts, 
says Plato, are confident, upon the stcength of their 
own judgment, that what is advanced about hell 
and future torments is a fiction ; but when an op- 
portunity presents itself for .their making the expe- 
riment, at the time that old age or sickness brings 
them to the confines of death, the terror of it pos- 
sesses them with a new belief, from a horror of their 
futiure state. And, by reason they are terrified by 
such impressions, Plato, in his laws, forbids all such 
threatening doctrines, and all persuasive arguments, 
that any evil can come to man from the gods, unless 
it be for his great good when it happens to hunrand 

E 2 . 


for a medicinal efiect They sa^r of Bion, that, beings 
infected with Theodorus's atheistical principles, m 
had, for a long time, held religious men in derision, 
but that, when death stared him in the face, he be* 
came superstitious to an extreme degree, as if tlie 
gods * were to be managed fust as Bion pleased. 
From Plato, and these examples, we conclude tl^t 
«^ iwUvv Ux/^vA^e are reduced to thebelief of a God, either by rea- 
(^Cl^^kvi^ 2> «on, or by force. Atheism being a propositioa not 
'^-'-A^4v* only unnatural and monstrous, but difficult, and 

T J-zii^M very hard to be digested by the mind of man, be he 

H f^^Ys^ ever so haughty and dissolute ; there are instances 
01 4^ A^ enough of men, who, out of the vanity and pride 

of broaching uncommon opinions, and of being re- 
formers of the world, outwardly afiect the profession 
of such opinions, who, if they are fools enough, have 
not the power to plant them in their own con- 
sciences : nevertheless, if you plunge a dagger into 
their breasts, they will not fail to lift up their hands 
towards heaven ; and when the fear, or the distem^* 
per, has abated and suppressed this licentious heat 
of a fickle humour, they will immediately recover, 
and suffer themselves, very discreetly, to be reeon* 
ciled to the public creeds and forms. A doctrind 
seriously digested is one thing, and these superficid 
impressions another, which, springing fi-om the de- 
pravity of an unsettled mind, float rashly and at 
random in the fancy. Miserable, hair-brained 
wretches, who would, if it was possible, &in be 
worse than they are ! 
whatotifeht The errors of paganism, and the ignorance of our 
wfirSyto^^^^^d fruths, led Plato, that great genius, but great 
Cod. only with human grandeur, into another error, next 
a-kin to it, that " Children and old people were 
•' most susceptible of religion ;" as if it sprung and 
derived its credit from our weakness : the knot that 

* This reflectioni which is so just and natural, is by Diogenes 
Laertius himself, who having no great fund of his own, it wouldl 
have been cruel to rob him of this. See lus Life of Bion, sect. ^^ 


ought to Innd the judgm^tt and the will ; that ought 
to restrain the soul, and &sten it to the creator, 
must be a knot that derives its foldings and strength, 
not firom our considerations, our arguments and pas- 
sicHis, but from a divine and supernatural constramt, 
having but one form, one face, and one lustre, 
which is the authority of God and his divine grace. 
Now, the heart and soul being governed and com- 
manded by faitli, it is reasonable that it should draw 
in the assistance of all our other faculties, as far as 
they are able to contribute to its service. 

Neither is it to be imagined, that this whole ma-^ <i*tfiii« 
chine has not some marks imprinted on it hy the£^^nby 
hand of its almighty Archited: ; and that there is not, >>" ^^^^ 
in the things of this world, some image that bears a^^' *' 
sort of resemblance to the workman who has built 
and formed them. In these sublime works he has 
lefl the stamp of his divinity,and itis only owing to our 
weakness that we cannot discern it. Itiswhathehim* 
self tells us, that he manifests his invisible operations 
to us by those that are visible. Sebonde applied him- 
self to this worthy study, and demonstrates to us, 
that there is not any piece in the world that dero<* 
gates firom its Maker. It would be a wrong to the 
divine ^^oodness, if the universe did not concur in 
our behe£ The heavens, the earth, the elements, 
our bodies, our souls, all things unite in this, if we 
can but find out the way to make it of use to us: 
th^ instruct us, if we are capable of learning : for 
this world is a very sacred temple, into which man is 
introduced to contemplate natues, not made with 
mortal hands, but such as the divine purpose has 
made the objects of. sense,. the sun, the stars, the 
water, and the earth, to represent them to our undet- 
standing." " The invisible things of God," says St 
Paul, *^ from the creation of the. world, are clearly 
^ seen, being understood by the thinp that are 
^ made, even bis eternal ppwer and ^|od£ead :"^ 

* Episde to tbt Romaiisy du^l i. Ter. SO. 


54 . AN Al^6L0«T FOfl ' 

Ai^ aded/Admn-cali turn bividei tjfhi ' 
' • IpseDeuSfVtdiuMiues$aSi,corpusquereclu4ii 

temper volvendo : se<fue ipsum inadcai et qfferf, 
Ut bene cognosci po^sit, doceatque videjfido 
Qualis eat J docealque suds attendere lege$. f 

, And God himself envies not men the grace 
Of seeing atid admiring heaven's face ; 
But/roUmg-il: about, he 6tiU toew * 
Presents its varied splelidor to our view ; 
Add oh our minds himself inculcates so. 
That we th' almighty J^Iover well miqr know 
Instructing ys^ by seeing him the cause 
Of all, ib'reverence and obey his laws. 

As to our human r^tson and arguments, they are 
but as lumpish barren matter : the grace of Grod is 
the form ; it is this which gives the fashion and value 
to it As the idrtuous deeds of Socrates and Cato 
remain vain and fitutless, for not having had the love 
and obedience due to the true Creator of all things for 
their end and object, and for their not having known 
God ; sp is it with our imagination and reason : they 
haVe a kind of body, but it is an inform mass, with- 
out fashiofi, and witnout light, if faith and God's grace 
be not added to it. Sebonde's arguihents, being illus- 
trated 'by faith, are thereby rendered firm and solid : 
they are capable of serving as directions, and of be- 
ing the principal guides to a learner, to put him into 
the way of this knowledge : they, in some measure, 
form him to, and render him capable of^ the grace of 
God, by iheans of which he afikerwards completes 
and perfects himself in our belief. I know a person 
of authority^ bred up to letters, who confessed to 
me, thathe was reclaimed from the errors of infide- 
lity by Sebonde's arguments: and should they be 
stripped of this ornament, and of the assistance and 
sanctioil of faith^ and be looked upon aS mere human 
fkncies, to Contend with those who are precipitated 
intothedreadflil and horrible darkness of iri^gion> 

^ Manil. lib. iv. at the latter end. 

thcgr ^pvoiildy even tlienv )>b ftfundto b^ vmUd atfd 
firm as any others of tbe smn^. Datwe that <:buld bt 
brought against them ; so that we shall be enabled to 
say ta our opponents, 

Simdius ^td haiisSiarcesse'i tel impetriw/nfer.^: 

If you have arguments more fit, 
IVoduce theiQi or to these subnut. :' ' 

Let. them eiflier submit tb the force of our prooft, or 
produce others, or on any other subject, that are bet- 
ter connected and more substantial. I ani^ unawares, 
already half way engaged in the answer wliich I pro- 
posed to make, in the vindication of Sebonde, against 
the second objection. 

Some say, that " his arguments arie weak, and^n'w^^^ 
^* unable to make good what he intends ;^* and they Lgahm'^C- 
undertake, with great ease, to confute them. These ^^^\ 
objectors are to be handled a little more roughly, for tiTar^ 
they are more dangerous and more nialicious than the "^*" 
former. Men are apt to wrest the sayings of another, 
to favour their own prejudiced opinions. To aii 
ftdieist all writings lead to atheism : he infects inno« 
cent matter with his own venom : these have their 
judgments so prepossessed, that Sebonde's argument^ 
appear insipid to them. As for the rfest, thev think 
we give them fair play, in allowing them the free 
use of weapons that are merely human, to combat 
our religion, which they durst not attack in its ma- 
jesty, full of authority ahd command. The method 
which I take, and think to be the most proper for 
curing this frenzy, is to crush, and spurn under foot, 
this arrogance and pride of men ; to make them sen- 
sible of their emptiness, vanity, and extreme no* 
thingness ; to wrest the wretched arms of their reason 
out of their hands ; to make them bow down and bite 
the ground, under the authority and reverence of the 
divine majesty. It is that alone to which know* 
Tedge and wisdom appertain } that alone which c^n 

^ Hoc ISh L ep. T. ver.. €. 

4fS • AK AP0LP9Y nnt' ^ 

ibmi -my ^estimate of itsdf, and from which we pisr^ 
loin whatever we value ourselves upon : 

Ov yif ii ffomt^ i Ofoc i^ly* £9<X9¥ i f«uro»# 
God permits not any being, but faimadfi to be truly wise* 

Let us demolish that Dresumption, the first found-- 
ation of the t^anny of ttie evil spirit: Dens super bis 
resistitf humtlibus' autem dat gratiam ;* " God re- 
** sisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the hum- 
** ble.** Understanding is in aff the gods» says 
Plato, but in man there is little or none. How* 
ever, it is very comforting to a Christian to see our 
mortal and frail talents so fitly suited to our holy 
and divine faith, that, when they are employed on 
subjects which are in their own nature mortal and 
frail, they are not more equally or more strongly 
appropriated to them. Let us see then, if there are 
stronger reasons than those of Sebonde in the power 
of man ; nay, if it be possible for him to arrive at 
any certainty, by reason and argument. For St« 
Augustine, pleamng a^nst these people, has good 
cause to reproach their injustice for maintaining 
those parts of our belief to be felse, which our rea- 
son cannot comprehend. And, to demonstrate that 
many things may be, and may have been, of which 
our reason cannot discover the nature and causes, 
he sets before them certain known and undoubted 
experiments, into which man confesses he has no 
insight And this he does, as all other things, with 
a curious and ingenious inquiry. We must do more 
than this, and make them know, that, to evince the 
weakness of their reason, there is no necessity of 
calling out rare examples ; and that it is so lame and 
so blind, that there is no &cility clear enough for it;^ 
that what is difficult and easy are ^ one and the. same 
to it ; that all subjects equally, aiid nature in gene- 
ral, disclaim its jurisdiction and interposition. M^at 

*1 Peucli.v.ver.5. 

£4IBfOKD.I>S 8£BOKD£. 47 

does trudi mean, when she {Hreachesi to us to beware 
(^worldlyphilowphy>^ whan it so often inculcates to 
US9 ^^ that the wisMlom of this world is foolishness with 
«^ God ;t that of all vanities man is the vainest ; that 
^^ the man who presumes upon his wisdom, does not 
^^ so much as know what wisdom is ; and that man 
^^ who is nothing, if h^ thinks himself any thing, is 
" deceived ?" These sentences of the holy spirit 
express in so clear and lively a manner what I am for 
maintaining, that there needa no other proof to con- 
vince men, who would with all obedience submit to 
such authority* 

But these are willing to be scourged ait their ownT*»e«*^'*«»- 
expense, and do not care that their reason should be^ve^ 
opposed by any thing but reason. Let us then, for®**>®'^ «"^»- 
once» consider a man alone without foreign assist- ""^ - 
ance, armed only with his own weapons, and desti- 
tute of. the divine grace and wisdom, which is all 
his honour, his strength, and the foundation of hi^ 
existence. Let him make me understand, by the 
force of his reason, upon what foundation 1^ has 
built those great advantages which he thinks he has 
above all other creatures : who has mad^ him be- 
lieve that this wonderful motion of the celestial arch, 
the eternal light of those tapers that roll so majes- 
tically over his head, the surprising motions of the 
boundless ocean, should be established, and continue 
for so many ages, purely for his convenience and 
service ? can any thing be imagined so ridiculous as 
that this miserable caitiff, who is not so much as mas- 
ter of himself, arid exposed to be injured by all 
things, should style himself master and emperor of 
the world, of which it is not in his power to know 
the least part, much less to command the whole? 
and this privilege, which he arrogates to himself, of 
being the only creature, in this vast fabric, that has 

* St Piiul to the Colossians, ch, iL ver. 8. . 
1 1 Cor. en. iii, ver. 19. 

the capfteity of distinguishing the beoa^ aikl tlie 
parts of it ; the only one that can return his thanks 
to its architect, and keep an accoant of the revenues 
and disbursements of the world ; who, I wonder, 
sealed that patent for him ? let him show us his com« 
mission for this great and splendid employments Was 
it granted in favour of the wise cmly ? Few people are 
sharers in it. Are fools and knaves worthy of so ex- 
traordinary a favour, and, being the worst part ^ 
Biankind, to be preferred before all the rest f i^all 
we believe the passage which says,* Quarum igitur 
causA quis diverit effectum esse mundum ? Eorum ^ci^ 
licet animantium^ qua raiione utuntur. Hi sunt Dii 
et homines J quibus project o nihil est melius : ** For 
^* whose sake, therefore, shall we conclude that this 
** wwld was made ? For theirs who have the use of 
'^ reason. These are gods and men, than whom 
" certainly nothing is better/* We can never mff- 
ficiently decry the impudence of this conjunction^ 
But, poor creature, what has he in himseUf worthy 
of such an advantage ? To consider the incorrupti* 
ble life of the celestial bodies, their beauty, magni'^ 
tude, and continual motion, by so just a rule : 

Cum suspicimus ma^ni coelestia mtmdi 

Templa super j stellisque micantibiis (Btherafixump 

Et venit in mentem lunce solisque viarum*\ 

Wh6n we the heavenly arch above beholdi 
And the vast sky adorn'd with stars of gold. 
And mark the reg'lar courses that the sun 
And moon in their alternate progress run. 

To consider the dominion and influence which those 
bodies have, not only over our lives and fortunes : 

Facta et enim et vitas hominum suspendit ab asirisi % 
Men's lives and actions oa the sti^rs depend i 

* That is to say, Balbus the Stoic, who speaks thus in Cicero de- 
de Natura Deorum, lib. ii. cap. 53. 
t Lucret. lib. v. 1203. % Mailil. lib. iil ver. 58. 

but over our very inclinations, our reason, our wills, 
which are governed, animated, and agitated at the 
mercy of their influences ; 

^ * ■ Speculatanue long} 

Deprettdit iacUis domtnantia legivus astra^ 
Et totum eUtema muhdum ratione moveri, 
FcUorumque vices certis distc^mere signts. * 

Gontemplating the smrs, lie finds that they 
Eole by a sileiit and a secret sway ; 
And that th' enameird spheres which roll above^ 
Incessant by alternate causes move ; 
And, studying tliese, he also can foresee 
• By certain signs the turns of destiny. 

To observe^ that no man, not even a king, is exempt, 
but that monarchies, empires, and all this lower 
eWorld, are influenced by the motions of the least ef 
the celestial orbs : 

Qiianiaque quam parvijitciqnt distrimina motnsy 
Taniam est hoc regnum xpwd regibu^ imperai ifm$. f 

How great a change a.'Uttle motion brings, 
So gieat this kingdom 18 that governs kings! 

If oiur virtues, our vices, our knowledge, and learn- 
ing, ind this same reasoning of ours upon the power 
of the stars, and this comparison of them to us, pro- 
ceed, as our reason Judges, by their means, and 
from their fevour : 

, Furil Miter amore^ 

Et pontum tranare potest et vertere Trojan : 
* AUerhis sots est scriberidis legibus apta : 

Ecce patrem nati perimvnt^ natosque parentes, 
, Jdtduaque armati coeunt invulnerafratres. 
Nbn nastrtifn hoe beUum est : cogiintur tante movere, 
Inque suas Jerri poenas, lacerandaque membra \ 

Hoc quoquefataU est, sic ipsum expenderefatum* X 

One mad in love may cross the raging main, 
To level lofty Ilium widi the plain ; 

♦ Mann. lib. i. ver. 62, &c. 

+ Idem. lib. i. ver. 57» et lib. iv. ver. 9S. 

i iSem. Ub. iv. ver: 79— 85, 118. 

60 An apoloot for 

Another's fiite inclines him more hy &r. 
To study laws and statutes for the bar. 
Sons kill their fathers, fathers kill their sons, 
And one arm'd brother 'gainst another runs. 
This war'H not their's, but Fate's that spurs them on 
To shed the bipod, which shed they muat bemoan; 
And i ascribe it to the will of Fate, 
That on this theme I now expatiate. 

If we hold this portion of reason which we have h^ 
the bounty of Heaven, how is it possiUe that it 
should ms^e us equal to the donor ? now can it sub- 
ject his essence and qualities to our knowledge? 
Whatever we see in those bodies astonishes ns : Qtus 
molitioj qwtferramenta^ qui vectet^ qua tnachina^ qui 
mnUtri iantioperUfuerunt?^ " What contrivance^ 
^* what instnunents, whatlevers, whatmachines, what 
" operatorswereemployedinso vast a work?" why do 
we deprive them of soul, of life, and of reason ? have 
we, who have no correspondence with them,^ but in 
obedience, discovered any immovable and insensible 
stupidity in them ? sliall we say, that we have disco- 
vered the use of a reasonable soul in no other crea^ 
ture but man? and why? have we seen any thing 
like the sun ? does it cease to be, because we have 
not seen any thing like to it ? and do its motions 
cease, because there are no other like to them ? if 
what we have not seen, is tlierefore not in being, our 
knowledge is wonderfully contracted: QutB sunt 
tanta animi angustia!\ ^^ How narrow are our un- 
^' standings !" Are they not dreams of human vanity 
\j^jjx^ ToL^ to make the moon a celestial world ? to &ncv, as 
^A "V^ 7^ ^Anaxagoras did, that there ,are mountains ana val- 
^^^^ZjXa^ Y^ lies in it? and there plant habitations and human 
dwellings, and to raise colonies in it for our coiive- 
venience, as Plato and Plutarch have done ? and of 
our earth, to ipake a bright shining star? Inter 
aetera mortalitatis incommoda^ et hoc est^ caligo men* 
tium: nee tantum necessitas errandiy sed errarum 
amor. tCorruptibile corpus aggravat animam^ et 

* Cic. de Nat Deor. lib. L cap. 8. f Cicde Nat. Ub. Leap. SL 
X In some editions of Montaigne, the passi^ that Mows is 

SAiMONiD x>£ sR^entnm. til 

ieprimit terrena inhabitatio sensummtilta cogitanttm j 
^^ Amongst other inconveniences of mortality, thi^ 
^ is one, viz. the darkness of the understanding, 
** whidi is not only under a necessity of erring, but 
^ takes delight m it.'' Senec de Ira, £b. . ii. 
cap. 9. 

Presumption is our natural and original infirmity : Presomp. 
the most wretched and frail of all creatures is man,|jj^|."jy 
and vet, withal, the proudest : he sees and feels him- natural to 
self lodged here in the dirt and nastiness Of the "^^ 
world, nailed and rivetted to the worst, the most 
stagnated, and most corrupted part of the universe, 
in the lowest story of it, and the farthest from, the 
arch of heaven, on the same floor with animals of the 
worst condition of the three species;* yet, in his 
imagination, he soars above the orb' of the moon, 
and casts the sky under his feet. 

By the vanity of this same imagination he mJEdces9Twfmt 
him^ctf equal with God, attributes to himself divine ^ifj'^iM. 
qualities, withdraws^ and separates himself from the>«p^iority 
croud of the other creatures, carves for the animals T**^*** 
his brethren and companions, and distributes such a 
portion Qf faculty and force to them as he liiinks fit. 
How does he know, by the strength of his under- 
standing, tiie internal and secret motives of the 
animals ? From what comparison, between them and 
us, does he infer them to be so stupid as he thinks 
them ? When I play with my cat, who knows whe- 
ther puss is not 'more diverted with me than I am 
with puss \ We divert each other with monkey tricks. 
If I nave my time of beginning or leaving ofi^ she 

ascribed to Seneca^ ep. 65, bnt it is not in that epistle ; and I fancy, 
\j the style of it, it is not to be met with in any other of Seneca^s 
msooiBTses. However this be, it may be thus rendered into Enfflish: 
the corruptible body stupifies the soul of man, and this early habi- 
tation dulls the imagination, which is employed on a multitude of 
qbjects. — At length I met with this passage in St. Augustine de Ci- 
^itate Dei, lib. xii. cap. 15. 

* That is to say, with the animals of the terrestrial species, al- 
ways creeping upon the earth, and therefore of a worse kind than 
the two otner species that fly in the air, or swim in the water. 


miso has hers* FlatO) in fais picture of the Golden 
Agp9 under Saturn, recl^ons, among the principal 
advantages that a man then enjoyed, his communi-' 
cation with the beasts, of which, inquiring and inform-^ 
ing himself, he knew their trtie.qiMlities, and wherein 
they differed, by which he acquired a very perfect 
intelligence ;uid prudence, and led his life more hap- 
pily than we can do. Need we a fuller- proof to 
jud^ of human impudence with regard to beasts ? 
This great author waa of opinion, that nature, in the 
greater part of the corporeal form which she had 
given them, had regard only to the use of tlie prog- 
nostications that were di*awn from them in his time* 
The defect which hinders the communication be- 
tween us and them, why is it not as bad for us aa 
for them ? It is yet to determine, where the fault is, 
that we do not understand one another ; for we do 
not understand them any more than they do us ; for 
this Very reason they may reckon us beasts, as we do 
them. It is no great wonder if we do not under- 
stand them, any more than we do the Basques and the 
Troglodites : and yet some have boasted, that they 
understood them; as, for instance, Apollonius 
Thyaaeus^* Melampus,t Tiresias, Thales, &c« And 
since,, as cosmographers say,t there are nations that 
severe a dog for their king, they must, of necessity^ 
put some construction upon his voice and motions. 
The bf asts . We must take notice of the parity there is bc- 
^Te"!-" tweenus: we have a tolerable understanding of their 
tboQKhu to sense, and the beasts have of our's much in the same well degree : they threaten, caress, and entreat us, and 
M »«■. so do we them : as for the rest, we plainly discover, 
that there is a full and entire communication between 
them, and that not only those of the same species, 
but even of different species, understand one 

* ApollodoruSy lib. i. cap. 9, sect. 11. f Id. lib. iii. cap. 6, sect, 7. 
' J Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. vi. sect. 30. Ex Africa parte Ptoerabari, 
Proemphance qui caneni pro rege habent, motu ejus imperia augu- 


Et mutiBfecudeSf ei denique secla ferarum, 

Dissimilssfuerunt voces variasque civere, 

Cum meius out dolor est, aut cum jam gaudia gliscuni.^ 

The tamer herds, and wilder soft of brutes, 

Though we, and rightly too, conclude them mutes; 

Yet utter dissonant and various notes 

From gentler lungs, and more distended throats; 

As fear, or grief, or anger do them more, 

Or «s they near approach the joys of love. 

The dog has a certain kind of barking, bjr which 
the horse knows he is angry ; and another nianner 
of barking, which excites no fear : even in the very 
beasts that make no noise at all, we easily conclude, 
from the social offices we observe amongst them, 
that they have some other way of communication : 
their very motions serve the same purpose as lan» 
guage : 

Nan alia long? ratione aique ipsa videtur 
Protrahere ad gestum pueros infantia lingucB.\ 

As infants who, for want of words, devise 
Expressive motions with their hands and eyes. 

And why not, as well as our dumb folks, dispute, 
arg^ue, and tell stories by signs : I have seen some 
to ready at this, that, really, they wanted nothing 
of the perfection of making themselves understood : 
lovers are angry, reconciled, entreat, thank, make 
assignations, and, in short, speak every thing by their 

El silentio encor suole 
Haver prieghi eparole.X 

Silence itself, in the fond lover. 
His am'rous passion will discov^. 

Would you think it ? With our very hands we re- . . 
quire, promise, call, dismiss, threaten, supplicate, 
deny, interrogate, admire, number, confess, repent, 
fear, confound, doubt, instruct, command, incite^ 

• Lacret lib. v.ver. 1058, &c. f IWd. ^ 

I Aminto of TassOi atto iL nel chora, ver. 34, S$* 


encourage, swear, testify, accuse, condeimi| ab- 
solve, affront, despise, defy, provoke, flatter, ap- 
plaud, bless, humbte, mock, reconcile, recommend, 
exalt, entertain, rejoice, complain, repine, despair, 
wonder, exclaim, keep silence, and wnat not ; and 
all this with a variation and multiplication, even to 
the emulation of speech : with the head we invite, 
dismiss, own, disown, give the lie, welcome, ho- 
nour, reverence, disdain, demand, refuse, rejoice, 
lament, caress, rebuke, submit, huff, exhort, threaten, 
assure, and inquire ? Would you think it, the same 
with the eye-brows ? with the shoulders? There is 
not a motion that does not speak both a language in* 
telUgible, without discipline, and a public language ; 
from whence it follows, that, considering the variety 
and distinguished use of the others, this ought rather 
to be judged the proper language of human nature. 
I omit what necessity particularly suggests, on a 
sudden, to those wHo are speechless ; the alphabets 
on the fingers, grammars in gesture, and the sciences 
that are only by them exercised and expressed ; nor 
do I mention the nations which, Plinv says,* ha,v^ 
no language but nutus motusgue memororum; t^ the 
^^ nods and motion of the limbs/' An ambassador 
from the city d( Abdera, after a long speech he made 
to Agis, king of Sparta, demanded of him, '^ What 
^* answer must I return to my feUowrcitizens ?" 
*^ Tell them," said he, " that I have given . the« 
^^ leave to say what thou wouldst, and as much as 
** thou wouldst, without ever speaking a word.*'t 
Is not this a silent way of speakmg, and very easy 
to be understood ? 
Thempa- As to the rcst, what kind of sufficiency is th^re iq 
b^obtervid^^ which we do not observe in Uie .operations of the 
in the beha. animals? Is there a police regulated with more or- 
vionrofihf ^gj.^ diversified with more charges and offices, and 

• Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. vi. cap. 30. 

f Plutarch, in his notable sayings of the Lacedannonians, atthQ 
ord Agis. 

ttibre mviolably mkintamed than thut of the bees? IsrirateiMrt 
it to be imagined, that so regular a disposition ofac-^j^^®***^ ' 
tions and offices doiUd bie made without reason and 

His quidani signis atque hisc exempta sequuti^ 
Esse apitus partem dwince meniis, et hauslus 
JEtheteos dixere.^ 

Some, from such instances as these, conclude 
Tliat bees, in psUrt, with reason ^re endued. 

The swallows, that we see, at the returti of the springs* 
searching all the comers of Our hdil^s^for the iriost 
commodious places wherein to build their iiests, do 
they seek witliout jiidgment, and out of a thousand, 
choose the fittest ior Sieir purpose, without discern* 
ment ? And, in that^ele^nt and admirable architec- 
ture of theirs, can the birds prefer a square figure to 
one that is round, an obtuse angle to a right otie^ 
without knowing their qualities and effects ? Do they 
first bring clay, ahd then water, without knowing 
that the moisture of the latter softens the hardness ^ . 
the former ? Do they line their palace with inoss or ^ * 
feathers, without foreseeing that it would be more soft 
and easy for the tender limbs of their young? Do 
they covet shelter from the rainy winds, and place . 
their lodgings towards the east, without knowing 
the different qualities of those winds, and consider-^ 
ing that one is more comfortable to them than ano* 
ther i Why does the spider make its web thicker at 
one place than another, and why make one sort of 
noose now, and then another, if it has UQt delibera-^ 
tion, thought, and conclusion ? . ,. . ' j 

We sufficiently discover, in most of their, ifrorksjiywipw* 
how much amtnals excel us, and how unable out art^J^-^tJ*^ 
is to imitate them. We see, nevertheless^ that, to our »» infer, 
more coaree performances, we apply all our faculties, SJ^riJll? 
and the utmost stretch of our minds: why do we ^"'^•fr*^ 

* Vfrg. Georg. lib. iv. Ven 219» &C4 
"901.. II* F 


thi»^fUomiQt8ftas much v^aeuponlljein? why s^QUldw* 
fwi^f A« 2^ttri^^*^ to I ktiowr Hot wnat natural au4 semle indi- 
}^u, k- na^n works wMck exszel bH that we. can p^rfpnii both 
sgiBst men. y^y nature and art ? In this, before we are aware> we. 
give them a great advantage over us, in making na- 
ture, with 3ie tenderness of a mother, accompany 
and lead them, as it were, by the hand, to all the 
actions and conveniences of their life, whilst she 
abandons us. to chance and fortune, and to fetch, 
by art, the things that are necessary for ourpreser- 
yation : at the same time denying us the means of 
being able, by aoy instr^uction or struggle of the ub-. 
(}erstan4ing, t^ attain to the natural capacity of 
beai^ts; so ihat their brutal stupidity, in ajlconve-f 
nienees, surpasses whatever our divine int^Ugence 
can do : reailv, at this rate, we should have good 
Jtea^n to call her a very unjust step-mother ^ butift 
is not SQ, our polity is not so irregular and de^ 
Natare bas NatuTC ha3 showu a tendemess to all her creatures 
ertom^' ^niv^rsaUyy aod there is not one which she has not 
TOo/T"" amply/umished with all the means necessar}' for the 
^bJ. "*" piceservation of its being : for, as to the vulgar com^ 
plaints which I hear men make (the. extravagance €£ 
whose notions lifts them up one whil6 to the clouds^ 
fsa^ then sinks them down to the antipodes), that we 
are the. only animal abandoned naked upon the bare 
eai7th5 tied and bound, not having wherewithal to 
arm and clothe himself, but by robbing the other 
animals ; whereas all the other creatures are covered^ 
by nature, with shells, husks, bark, hair, wool, 
prickles, leather, do\^ii, feathers, scales, fleece, and 
nristlfes, according as is necessary for their existence; 
aaned with daws or talons, teeth and horns, for at- 
tack a$ well as defence ; and nature itself has equip* 
ped them with what is necessary for their swim>- 
- mingt running) fiyu^g> singing ; whereas man knows 
neither how to walk, speak, eat, or do any thing 
but weep, without serving a sort of apprenticeship 
to it: 

1W porr^ ptser^ ut scbvU projects abttndiSf ^ 

Kaxfita nudus humi facet infans^ indiffus omni 

Fkali auxilio^ cum firimum in lumimsoras 

HfexUfus ex alvo mairis nalura profudit, 

Va^ituque locum lu^ubrl complete tit cequnm est. 

Cm tantum in vita restet transire malomm. 

j4t vatiofcrescunt pccudes, armeHta^ ferceque^ 

Nee creJHtaculA eis opus est^ nee cuiqtiwn adhibenda est « 

Almee nutricis blamui atque infracta loquela : 

ifec y arias qutsrunf vestefi pro tempore coeli : 

Denique non armis opus est, non mcenibus altis, 

Queissua tutentur, quando omnibus omnia larg}, 

TeUus ipsa parit, naturaque dcedala rerunu^ 

Like to the wretched mariner, when tost 

Bv raging seas .upon, the desart coast. 

The infant is cast naked on the earth. 

Wanting life's necessaries at its birth : 

When nature first presents it to the day. 

Freed from the mother's worab in wliich it lay ; 

Straight with most doleful cries it fills the room^ 

Too sure presages of its woeful doom : 

Bm beasts, both w3d and tame, greater and lessi 

Do of themselves in bulk and strength increase ; 

They need no rattle^ nor the broken chat, 

By which the nurse coaxes her child to prate : 

lliey look not out for diflTrent robes to wear. 

According to the seasons of the year ; 

Nor for their safety citadels prepare, 

j^or foige the murderous instruments of war *, 

SiQc« earth uncuUitated freely grants^ 

And nature's lavish hands supply their wants. 

These complainte, I say, are £dse : there is in the 
policy of the world, a greater equality, and a more 
uni^rm relation. Our skins are as good a defence 
for us against bad weather, as theirs j witness the 
several nations who have not yet known the use of 
clothes. Oiur ancient Gauls were but slenderly clad, 
as well as the Irish, our neighbours, in so cold a 
climate. But we may better judge of this by our- 
selves; for all those parts of the body that we are 
pleased to expose to tne air, are very able to bear it : 
xf there be a tender part about us, which is most 

♦ Lucret lib. ▼. ver. 228—295. 


likely to suffer by cold, it must be the Btomach, in 
which digestion is performed, yet our ancestors 
always went open-breasted ; and our ladies, as tender 
and delicate as they are, go sometimes bare as low as 
the navel. Neither is the binding and swathing of in- 
fants more necessary, for the Lacedsmonian mothers* 
brought up their children by leaving their limbs to 
all the freedom of motion, without any ligature at 
all. Our infancy cries are common to most of the 
other animals, there being scarce any but what are 
observed to groan and bemoan themselves a long 
time after their birth: it is a behaviour natural to 
their weak condition. 

As to the practice of eating, it is in us, as it is in 
them, natural, and without instruction : 
Seniit enim quisque suam qvampossit alnitif 

For every one soon finds his nat'ral force. 
Which he, or better, may employ, or worse. 

Who doubts but an infant, when able to feed itself, 
may make a shifl to get its living ; and the earth 
produces wherewithal to supply its necessity without 
culture ; but if* not at all times, neither does it so 
to the beasts ; witness the provision we see the ants 
and other creatures hoard up against the barren sea- 
sons of the year. Those nations, lately discovered, 
with meat and natural drink, without care and with- 
out cookery, demonstrate to us, that bread is not 
oiir only food ; and that, even without tillage, we 
should have been plentifiiUy furnished with all that 
is necessary for us j probably more so than at pre- 

Et tellus nitidasfruges vinetaque Ueta 

Sponte sua primum morlalibiLs ipsa creavit : 

Ipsa dedit dtiUes fcetusy et PaiulttUetaj 

Qifce nunc vix nosiro gramescunt avcta lalore, 

Conttrimusque boves . et vires ogricolai'um.X 

Tlie earth did first spontaneously afford 

Choice fruits and wmcs to furnish out the board ; 

* Plutarch in the Life of Lycurgus, c'lap. 13. 

t Luaet. lib. v. ver. 1032. f Lucret lib. iu ver. 1 157, &c 


Yfith herbs and flow'rs unsown in Terdant fields, 
. But scarce by art so good a harvest yields $ 
Though men and oxen mutually have strove. 
With all their utmost force. the soil t' improve : 

the depravity of our appetites being too great, for Bny 
thing that we can invent to satisfy them. 

In respect to arms, we have niore, that are na« 
tural, than most of the other animals ; more various 
motions of the limbs, and acquire more service from 
them by nature, and without instruction.- TTiose Man it fur. 
who are trained up to fight naked, are sure to "Jjjf^''"^ 
throw themselves into the like hazards that we do. wcapoBi. 
If any of the beasts surpass us in this advantage, we 
surpass many others : and as to the industry of forti- 
fying the body, and guarding it by acquired means, 
we^have it by the instinct and law of nature. So the 
elephant grinds and whets the teeth he makes use of 
in war (for he has particular teeth for that sefvice, 
which he spares, .and never puts to any other use.) 
When the bulls go io fight, they toss and throw 
the dust all round them. The wild boars whet their 
tusks; and the ichneumon, when he is to engage 
with the crocodile, fortifies his body, covers and 
crusts it all over with a slimy sort of well-mixed mud, 
which sticks- to bim like a cuirass ; and, may we not 
say, it is as natural for us to arm with wood and iron ? 

As to speech, it is certain, that, if it be not natur 
ral, it is not necessary ; yet it is my opinion, that, whether 
if an infant was to be Drought up in a desert, remote 'p^ |* 
from all society with mankind (which would be a"*" 
trial very hard to make), he would have some kind 
of speech to express his meaning by : and it is not 
to be supposed, that nature has denied us the means 
which it has given to several other animalsr : for what The i 
but speech is that faculty, which we discern in them,**^'*Jj"' 
of complaining, rejoicing, calling to one another for their own. 
help, and the invitations of one another to lovej all 
which, they express by different sounds? And why 
should they not speak to one another? They speak 
to us, and we to them : in how many seve^pal tonea 

90 .: AN APOLaCT 90ft 

do we ^ak tD onr dogs, and th^ ntEHsmitr in ? We 
converse with them in another sort of style, and with 
other appellations than we do with birds, swine, 
oxen, horses j and alter the idiom according to the 
species : 

Cosi per entro loro scJiiera Iruna, 

S* ammusa V ima con f altrafonriica, 

Forse <ispiar lor tna, eilorJbrtufM.* 

Thus from one swarm of nnts some sally outj 
To spy another's stock, or mark its rout. 

Lactantius, I think, attributes to beasts, not only 
speech, but laughter : and the difference of language^ 
which is manifest amongst us, according to me va« 
riety of countries, is ajso observed in animals of one 
and the same species. Aristotle, to this puipose, in« 
'Stances in the various calls of partridges, accordin^^ 
to tb^ situatioQS of the places : 

JLeyge fdigs alicejaciunt in tempore voc£S, 

Et partim wutari cum tempestatiliis wai 
Raucisonos cantus.f 

And sev'ral birds do, from their warbHng throats. 

At sev'ral times ptter qoite diif 'rent notes ; 

And some their hoarse ones with the seasons change. 

But the thing to be known is, what language would 
such a child speak, of which what is said by conjec- 
ture is not very probable ? 
WTiy thos© If> i^ opposition to this opinion, any man will tell 
who are ^le, that they who are born deaf do not speak j I 
^not**** answer, that this is the case, not so much because 
fjp«»k, they could not receive instruction to speak by the 
ear, as because the faculty of hearing, which they 
are deprived of, has a relation to that of speaking, 
and they hold together by a natural connection, . in 
such a manner, tliat what we speak we must first 

* Dante nel Purgatorio, cant xxiv. ver. S4, &c. 
-f Lucret.Kb,v. ver. 1077-*1080, 108?, 1085, 


qpelik to inir owtt breasts, and mbke it stMuid ia out 
ears, before we utter it to others. 

All this I have said to prove the resemUatioe Mep ud 
which there is ia human tiiiius, and bring us I'i^yljrkrSlJIit!* 
aiid joiti us to the crowd. . We are nfeither abote nerj^to the 
bdow the rest All that is under heStven (says the'^.^' ^ 
wise man) k subject to one law, and one fortone ; 

Indupedita suisfataUbus omnia vinclis.* 

s— »- All tkiags leniaiii 

Bound and entangled in one &tal chain. 

There is some difference ; there aire several ranks and 
d^ees, but it is under the aspect of one and ^Stut 
same nature : 

— — Resqti€eque suo ritu procedU^ et omnei 
Fcedere natune certo distrtmine servant.f 

All things, arising &om their proper eauae, 
Remain distinct, and follow nature'^ laws. 

Man must be confined and restrained within the bar- 
riers of this pdity. The miseraUe creature is really 
n4>t in a condition to put one le^ over the fence : hoe 
is fettered and embarrassed, he is sul^ect to the same 
oUt^ation with the other creatures en his rank ; and 
his state is very mean, without any prerogative^ or 
true and substantial pre-eminence. Ihat which he 
'ascribes to himself in his own fency and opiiiion, 
has iio reality. And if it be the real case, that he 
•alone of all living creatures hath this [Nivilege oP 
imagination, and this irregularity of sentiments, re- 
4>resenting to him that which is, that which is not, 
«nd the &lse and the true, as he pleases ; it is an ad- 
Vantage very deariy bought, and for which he has 
vety Kttle reason to value himself, since from hence 
arises the prinoipsd source of the evSs that oppress 
him, shi, sickness, irresolation, affitction, ami de- 
spadr. Isay, therefore (to retom to my subject), 
:tW tiliere is no appearance of reason to^u{qpose that 

• Lttcr* lib. V. ^er. 874. + Lucr.lib. v. vcr, 921, 922. 


Animait the beasts should, by a natural and forced inditm* 
lu^^dS^w' *^^"> ^^ *^® ^^^ things that we do by our choice 
bH^»'«'i »nd endeavour. We ought from like effects to con- 
A:itide like faculties, and fl-om richer effects richer 
/ fkculties \ and, by consequence, to confess, that this 
. ^feme r^i^soti, this same method^ by which we operate, 
is C(»Amon also to the animals, or sopne other thU in 
bf tter. Whj should we imagine this natural con- 
atrair^t in them, while we experience no such effect 
from it in oilrsglves ? Considering, oioreovec^ that it 
is more honourable to be gufded, and obliged to act 
regularly by a natural and inevitable disposition, and 
more approfi^ching to that of th^ divine Being, than 
to act regularly by a fortuitous liberty ; and mor^ 
safe to trust the reins of our conduct to nature than 
t» ourselves. The vanity of our presu<nption is 
the reason that we had rather ascribe our sufficiency 
to our own strenffth, than to the bounty of nature; 
and that we enrich the other animals with the bounties 
of nature, and renounce them in their favour, purely 
for the sake of honouring and ennobling ourselves 
with goods acquired ; a humour which I take to be 
very silly, for I would as much value favours that 
weie entirely my own by nature, as those that I acquire 
byedueation. ^Ve cannot ^njoy greater happiness 
than to be the favourite orJiUod Md^ture^ 
l^Ju^\ The Thracians, when thev purpose to pass over 
r^M^ioV any frozen river, turn out a fox before them, which, 
when he comes to the bank,* lays his ear down to 
the ice to listen if he can hear the noise of the cur- 
rent from a remote or nearer distance ; and, accord- 
ing as he thereby finds the ice to be more or less 
thick, he draws back or goes forward. . Now should 
we see a fox do thus, should we not have ground tQ 
conclude, that he reasoned just in the same manner 
as ourselves ; and that it is a reasoning and conse^ 
quehce derived from natur^il sense, or a perception 
in the fqx^ that what makes a noise moves, tliat wha^ 

♦ piuUrdi de Solertia Anim. &c. cap. 12 of Amyot's translatioi3K 

RAinOKD 1>£ SEBOKbE. 73 

moves is not congealed, that what is not congealed 
Is liquid, and that what is liquid yieldsto weight ? 
For to ascribe this only to the quickness of die sense 
oflieaiing without reasoning, and making an infer* 
ence, is an argument that csoinot be admitted. In 
the same manner are we to; judge of the many various 
tricks and inventions, by which the beasts secure 
themtolves from the plots tire form to surprise them. 

If we think to make> any advantage, even of this Men iIbtm 
argument, that it is in our powenr to seize them, to ^^^^1^^ 
employ them in our service, and to use them at our mttiM tbo 
pleasure; it is but still the same advantage that we ^^'^^^ •^l 
take one of another. . We have our slaves upon this 
condition. And were not the Climacide, women of 
Syria that crouched to the ground on their hands and 
feet to serve as a footstool,* or a step ladder, for the 
ladies to get into their coaches, instances of this oU 
servation f The greatest part of free persons surren-< 
der thdr life and being to the power of another, for 
very trivial advantages. The wives and concubines 
of the Thracians contend who shall be chosen to be 
slain f upon the tombs of their husbands. Have ty«» 
rants ever failed of finding men enough entirely at 
their devotion and disposal? What armies have 
bound themselves afler this manner to their generals! 
The form of the oath, in this severe school of fencers, 
who were to fight it out to the last, was in these 
terms : " We swear to suffer ourselves to b^ chained, 
^* burned, wounded, and killed With the sword, and 
^^ to endure all that true gladiators suffer from their 
^^ master^ most religiously engaging both bodies and 
^^ souls in his service :" 

Ure mfuniy si vhj fiammn capitt. et petejerrq 
Corpus, et inlorto verbere terga seca, % 

Stab me, or lash me till my shoulders bleed. 
Or, with the red-hot iron, bum my head. 

* Plutarch^ chap. S, in his discourse how to distinguish the flat** 
terer from the friend, 
f Herodot. lib. v. p. 33 J. X TibuUu0| 13>. L ^ej;. %» yer, €1, 22« 


funeral Thls was dH obligfttibn iirileed, and yet th6n w» 
•^^^«i^» one year in which 10^000 ehtered itito it, abd 
thiaukmg^i' thereby lost their lives. When the ScythiMS ibter^ 
red their kings, they straii^leol uiMm his body the 
most &voured of his concubiaes, his cop^bear^, the 
master of his horse, his chamberfaua, the gentiesiaa* 
usher of his chamber, and cbok.* And, upon las 
anniversary, they killed fifty kcxses, mbunted bt 
My pi^es^ whom they impaled alive, anddiera Im 
liiem^ stuck bv way ^f state^ round his tomib. 
wkai we The men who serve us. come off cheaper, tfaoogh 
Sfl!i!k ais. they ^^ ^"^^ treated .with all that nioety and &vduI^ 
with which we treat our hawks,, horses, and do^. 
How anxiom are we for their g(Kxi ? I do not thinks 
that the loweit degree of daves Iroildd williiigly do 
that fin* theit masters, which even princea think it an 
honour to do for their beasts. Diogenes, seeing his 
rcfotioss solicitous to redeem iiira froifi servitude^ 
'' They are fools," sahl he, '' it is that which treatt 
^ and nourishes me, and that serves m^/'t And they 
who maintain beasts, may be said rather to serve 
them, than be served by Uiem. And yet the beasts 
are in this respect the more generous, that never did 
a hxm serve another Hon, nor otie horse submit to 
toother for want of spirit. As We go to the chase 
of beasts, so do tigers and lions to the chase of 
men ; and they do the same execution one upon 
the other, dogs upon hares, pikes upon teaches, swal* 
lows upon flies^ and sparrov^^hawks upon blackbirds 
and larios : 

Serpenff ciconin pidlos 

Nutritj et invent a per de via rura hcdrtS 

El leporeyiij ant capream, famulce Jovis, et ^enerosce 
In saltu venaniur aves*i 

* Herodot lib. it. p. 280. 

f Diogenes Laertius in the Life of Diogenes the Cynic, lib* v. 

X Juv, sat. xiv. ver, 74, &c. 

Tlie $t6ik her yoni^ ones nourishes With snakes 
And liz'drrds found in bye-ways and iii lakes j 
Java's bird, and others of the nobler kind. 
Hunt in the woods the hare and kid to find. 

We divide the quarry, as well as the labour and 
pains, with our hawks and hounds* And above 
Amplupolis, in Thrace, the falconers divide the 
booty oetwi^n themselves and their wild hawka, 
into two equal shares; just as along the Falus Moe^ 
Otis, if the fisherman does not leave an equal shaire of 
what he catches to the wolves, they go immediately 
and tear his nets to ^pieces. 

As we have a sort of fishing whidi is iftanaged ^JjJj^Ju ul^ 
more by cunning than force, namely^ anglipg withha'atios. 
the hook and Ime, so the like is to be seen amone 
the animals. Aristotle says, that the cuttle-fish 
casts a long gut from its neck like a. line, which it 
lets out and draws in at pleasure^ and that, as S009 
as tt perceives any of the small fish ap{Mroaching, it 

EVes it leave to nibble the end of this gut, while it 
des itself in the sand, or mud, and draws it to him 
gently, till the little fish is so near, that, with one 
apring, it can make a prey of it. 

With respect to strength, there is not a creature in Tiie 
the world exposed to so many u^urieg a» man.rtV*' 
Not to mention a whale, an elephant, a crocodile, ^^l^^^ 
and such sort of animals, of whiii^h one alone is** "^ 
enough to put many men to flight: a swarm of lice 

Sut an end to the dictatorship of Sylla, and the 
eart and life of a great and triumphant emperor 
was the breakfast of a little worm. 

"WTiy do we boast, that it is only for human know- Beasts ai- 
ledge and learning to distinguish things useful to life, wba'^miy 
and of service in sickness, from those that are ^^ot^^^l^t^J.^JJ^n 
•and to know the virtue of rhubarb and the polypody ? their 
When we see the goats of Candia, after being ^*"' 
wounded by an arrow, run and single out dittany, 
among a million of herbs, fit for their cure ; when 
we see the tortoise, after eating a viper, search im- 
mediately for migoram to purge itself ^ when we 9ee 


see the dragon rub and clear its eyes ivith fennel ; 
the storks give themselves clysters with the water c^ 
the sea, and elephants in battle not only pluck out 
the javelin and dart that stick in die bodies of them- 
selves and their companions, but those also of their 
musters (witness king Porus, whom Alexander de- 
feated), and that so dexterously, that we could not 
do it ourselves, with so little pain to the wounded 
person : when we see all this, I say, why do we not 
confess in the same manner, that this is knowledge 
and prudence ? To argue, in order to disparage them; 
that they know it only by instinct, is not robbing 
them of their claim to knowledge and prudence, but 
ascribing it to ithem with more reason than to us, to 
the honour of so infidlible a school-mistress. 
Hopes. Chrysippus, thdugh in all other things he had as 
l^^^ mean an opinion of the condition of the animals 
'^"'^ fts any other philosopher, observing the motions of a 
dog (that had either lost his master, or was in pur* 
suit of some prey) at a cross-way, where three roads 
met, seeing him lay his nose in one road after ano- 
ther, and observing that, 'when he had no manner 
of scent of what he was seeking in two of them, he 
darted^' into the third road without any hesitation, 
the philosopher w^ forced to confess, that the dog 
must reason with himself in this manner, ^^ I have 
^ traced my master to this cross-way, and one of 
^ these three roads he must needs be gone ; but I 
•• do not perceive that he to<* this road or that ; 
** he must therefore infallibly be gone the other ;** 
and that, having made himself sure that he was in 
the right by this inference and reasoning, he made 
no further use of his sense in the third road, nor laid 
his nose to it, but ran on in it, without any other 
motive except the strength of his reason. This pasr 
sage, which is the pure heart of reasoning, and this 
stating of propositions divided and united together, 
and the proper examination of the parts, is it not of 

* Sextus £ropiricu5y Pynrli. Hypot. lib. j. cap. 14, p. 15, » 


as much ase to the dog to know it of himself, as if 
he was instructed in the knowledge of that figure in 
geometry, which they call a trapezium ? 

Nor are the animals incapable of being instructed ^"^"^Jf^ 
in our &$luon. We teach blackbirds, ravens, mag-b^uTsiA* 
pies, parrots, &c, to talk; and the readiness with**'^**** 
which we must acknowledge they give us their voice 
and breath, rendering both so supple and pliant as 
to be formed and restrained to a certain number of 
letters and syllables, shows us that they are endued 
with reason, which renders then! so docile and wil- 
ling to learn. Every one has seen enough, I should 
think, of the many, monkey tricks that are played by 
dogs, which tumblerd lead about the streets ; their 
dancings, in which they keep exact measure with 
the sound of the music ; their various motions and 
leaps, at the command of tlieir leader ; but I am 
more struck with admiration at the performance, 
which is nevertheless very common, of those dog^ 
that lead the blind beggars in the fields, and in towns: 
J havetaken notice how they stop at such doors where 
they have been used to receive charity, how they • 
keep out of the way of coaches and carts, even when 
there has been room enough for themselves to pass : 
I have seen them, in walking along by a town-ditch, 
get out of the plain smooth path, and choose a 
worse, only to keep their master farther from the 
ditch. How pould this dog be made to conceive 
that it was his business to be mindful only of the 
safety of his master, and to prefer his service to hi3 
own convenience ? And how came he to know, that 
a way was wide enough for him, which was not so 
for a blind man ? CouM he comprehend all this with- 
out a faculty of reasoning ? 

We must not forget what Plutarch tells us* of a a dog 
dog he saw at Rome, with the emperor Vespasian, ^]^'^ ^, 
the &ther, at the theatre of Marcellus, This dog be-Mird^id, 
long^ to a tumbler, who acted the farce of a pos« 

* Plutarch de Solcrtia Aninudlum, cap. 18. 

oed it« 

78 A^'AMtOCTfOft 

tiire-m^er, tod ^ dog ako^ planned a ttartu 
Amongst other triqks^ he was cotnmandfid to mgn 
himself dead for a space of time, by reason of eating 
som^ poisonous drug. After he had swallowed a 
piece of breads which was pretended to be this drug, 
ne began soon to tremble and' stagger, and at last, 
stretching himself out on the ground, and appearing 
stone-dead, he su^red himself to be dragged from 
one place to another, as the business of the farce re- 
quired ; and, when he knew it was time for him to 
come to life again, he began first to stir bimsdf very 
gently, as if he was just awakened out of a profound 
slumber, and, lifting up his head, stared about him, 
in such a manner as surprised all the spectators. 
The mm The oxcu that ware employed in watering the 
fiJdCTs'of' royal gardens at Susa, turned certain great wheels to 
»n«L draw the water, to which buckets were hung (where- 
of there are many such in Languedoc) and they were 
ordered to draw each a hundred turns a da^. They 
were so accustomed to this number,* that it was im- 
possible, by any force, to make them draw one turn 
more; but, when they had done their task, they 
stopped quite short. We cannot count a hundred, 
till we are a little advanced in years ; and have late- 
ly discovered nations that have no knowledge at all 
of numbers. 
v^^\n' It requires a greater share of understanding to 

ihlrs leach • • -^^ .• ^^i . • -^ t> ^ Tl* 

their young give mstructiou thaii to receive it. But settmg 
toeing, aside what Democritus held BXid proved, that we 
learn most of the arts we have from the other ani- 
mals, as weaving and sewing from the spider, builds 
ing from the swallow, music from the swan and the 
nightingale, and the. use of medicine from several of 
the animals, by imitating them : Aristotle is of dpi* 
nion, that the nightingales spend a great deal of 
time and pains in teaching their young to sing ; and 
that to this it is owing, that those which we breed up in 
cages, that have not had time to learn of their dams» 

* Plutarch de Solertia Animalium, cap< SCX* 

IlAtMDK9[>.DE SEBD1CD£« 79 

want tsivuA of iim gtace of tJneir singing From 
hen<ie we may judge, that they improve by disqi^ 
pUne and study : and, evea amongst the ymd ones^ 
every one is not alike, since each takes its learning 
aceon^g to its caj^city. And so jealous are they 
one of another whilst learning, and they contend. 
so obstinately, that the vanquished drops down dead . 
for wiaat of breath, rather than voice. The younger 
nightingales ruminate, are pensive, and begin with. 
the imitation pf some staves : the scholar listens to > 
his master's isistruction, and follows it very carefully. • 
They are silent by turns ; one may hear feults cor- 
rected, and observe some reproofs by the teacher. 

I have formerly seen, says Arrius, an elephant Ei<*phantt 
having a cymbal hung at each leg, and another at ["*J,a*IS^t»* 
his head^ at the sound of which all the others danced musL 
round him, rising and falling at certain cadences,, 
according as they were guided by the instrument ; 
and the harmony was. dehghtfid^ At the spectacles, 
<^ Rome, it was common to see elephants trained 
Up to move and dance to vocal music, and such 
dances too^ wherein were such figurings in and put, 
such, crossings, and such a variety of steps, as were 
very difficult to learn. Some have been known to 
practise their lessons in private by themselves with 
great care and study, that they might not be' chid 
and corrected by then- keepers.* 

Rit the story of a magpie, for which we have the a barber't 
authority of Plutarcht himself, is very strange. Ttdsjj^^f^j^ij^ 
bird, wmch was in a barber's shop at Rome, imitated ted the 
with her voice every thing that she heard to a degree [Jl|^^*'t[* 
that was miraculous. It happened one day that 
some trumpets were sounded a good while before the 
^hop : after that, and all the next day, mag was very 
pensive, quite mute, and melancholy ; which every 
body wondered at, and believed that the sound of 
die trumpets had totally stupified and stunned it, 

* Plkijr etRtroB the same tbing, Nat. Hkt lib. viu^ c^ S* 
f Flutaroh de Solertia Anim^ium^ cap. 18*. 

80 Att APOLOOt tOlt 

tod that her Voice and lier hearing were both gtm^ 
together. But it appeared, at length, that it had 
been in a profound meditation, and. musing all the 
while, within itself, how to exercise and prepare its 
Voice to imitate the sound of those, trumpets, so that 
the first essay it made was perfectly to imitate their 
repetitions, stops, and changes *j and this new les- . 
son made it quit and despise all it had learned 

Though it be not quite in method, which I am 
sensible I do not strictly pursue, nay, more in the 
examples I bring, than in the rest of my discourses: 
I will not omit to produce another instance, of a dog, 
which, Plutarch says, he once saw aboard a ship : 
tu iniren- this dog, bciug unable to come at some oil at tne 
5trtg to g^t bottom of a jar, which he could not reach with his 
oil out of a tongue, by reason of the narrow mouth of the 
^'' vessel, went and fetched stones, and let them fall 
into the jar,* till the oil rose so high tliat he could 
lap it. What is tliis, but the eflfect of great sub- 
tlety ? It is said the ravens of Barbary do the same, 
when the water they would drink is too low.t 
ortheinb. This action bears a near resemblance to what is. 
ilineiral? reported of elephants by Juba, a king of their coun- 
tioToTete-try, that when, by the craft of the hunters, one of 
phants. them is caught in the deep pits that are dug, and 
covered over with bushes to intrap them, its com- 
panionst hasten with stones and logs of wood to 
enable him to get out. But this creature, in many 
other performances, discovers such a degree of hu- 
man capacity, that were I to give a detail of all the 
facts, known by experience, 1 would easily gain as- 
sent to what I have commonly maintained, that there 
is a wider difference between such and such men, 
than there is between such a man and such a beast* 
The keeper of an elephant, at a private house in 
Syria, robbed him at every meal of one half of hi» 

* Plutarch de Solertia AAimaliuQiy cap. IX f Id. ibid. cap. 1% 
i Id. ibid. cap. 16* 

allowatice. One day his master took in his . head to 
feed the elephant himself, and poun^d into his man-* 
cer the full measure of barley, which. he had ordered 
for his meal. The elephant, giving his keeper an 
angry look, separated one half from the other with 
his trunk, and thrust it to one side,* thereby disco* 
vering the wrong that his keeper had done to him. 
And another, having a keeper who mixed stones 
with his provender, to swell the measure of it, went 
to the pot where he was boiling meat for hi^ own 
dinner, and filled it with ashes.t These are facts of 
a private nature } but all the world has seen, and 
knows, that, in all the armies of the Eastern regions^! 
their greatest strength consisted in elephants, wita 
which they did greater execution beyond compari- 
son, than, we do now with our artillery, which is used 
in a pitched battle, as it were in the stead of ele- 
phants. This may easily be suppose<^ by those who 
^e acquainted with the ancient histories : 

^ Siquidem T^ia servire sokbani 

jinnibali, et nasms diicilms, regique Molosso 

Horum majoref, ■ ^ dwsoferre cohartes 

Partem aliquant belli, et eunlem in prcBlia timrim^X 

The sires'of these huge elephants did yield 

To cany Hannibal into the 'field ; 

Our generals also did those beasts bestride, 

And, mounted thus, Pyrrhus his foes defied. 

Nay moie, upon their backs they us'd to bear 

Castles with armed cohorts to the war. 

To be sure they placed a very great confidence in 
the fidelity and understanding of those beasts, when 
they posted them in the vanguard of the battle, 
where the least stop, by reason of the great bulk and 
weight of their bodies, the least fright that should 
have made them face about upon their own people, 
would have been enough to have ruined the whole 
army. There are but few examples where it has hap* 

* FlutarcK de Solertia Animalium, oqp. 12» t ^^ '^* 

% JuY. sat. xii. cap. i07y&c. 

si JOt AWL66r Mft 

peded, that they have fkllett fcml upon ^leir ow» 
traops ; though we ourselves break into our &mi bat* 
tidions, and rout on6 another/^ They had the charge^ 
hot of one snnpl6 motiotf only, but of a great va« 
iiet}\ which they were to perform in the battle, bs 
the dogs of the Spaniards had when they first con-* 
quered the Indies,* tb which they not only gave pay, 
nut a^hare in thtit spoil : and those animals showed 
ith much dexterity and judgment in pursuing the vie* 
tirfy, and stopping the piir^it ; in attacking &t rfe- 
treating, when occasion required ; and in the distiH- 
^islnng of fHeiids jfrom foAs, as they did of ardour 
and ftiry. We admire and value thii^ that «e 
itrafise, more than those which are common. I had 
not else amused myself with this long register. For 
1 ftney, whoever will strictly scrutinise into what we 
commonlv see in tht animals which we have amongst 
hs, may ihe^ -finA as wonderful effects a^ those ^e 
collect from diShrent ttges and countries. It is one 
and the same nature that runs her course, and who^ 
ever shall sufficiently comider the present state of 
things, may from tbi^ee certainly conclude both the 
future and the past 
McB that I have formerly sie^ then brought hither by sea 
^!!^ from very distant countriiis, whose language being 
^"fo* quite unmtdligible to us, and, moreover, their mien, 
n^d^ countenance, and clothes, being quite different from 
ed nvHo. ours, who of US did not think them savages and 
brutes? Who did not impute it to stupidity, and 
want of common sense, to see tiiem mute, ignwant 
of thie French tongue, ignorant of out compliments 
and cringes, our port and behaviour, which must for- 
sooth be a model for all the human race. All that 
seems strange to us, and Chat we do not understand, 
^e ^e sure tb condemn ; so it happens in the judg- 
ment M'e form of the beasts. They have several qua- 
lities similar lb ours: &om these we may by Com- 

* This is no more than what several nations had practised long 
before. Pliny, lib. viii. cap. 40. j£lian. Var. tiUirt. lib. xiv, cap. fS. 


parison draw some conjecture; but, fix)m such as 
are peculiar to themselves, what do we know of 
diem ? Horses, doj^, the blade cattle, sheep, birds, 
and most of the animals that live wilii us, know our 
voice, and sufier it to be their guide. So did Cras- 
sus and Lamprey,* which caine to him at his call, as 
the eels do in the lake Arethusa. And t have »een 
many reservoirs, where the fish run to eat at a certain 
call of their feeders : ^ 

■ Noffien hahentj et ad magistri 
Vocem qmsque sui vanit citcUus.f 

Tbey every one have names, and^ one atid all. 
Appear directly at their own master's call. 

Of this we are capable to form a judgment. We wbeOier 
may also s»jr, that the elephants have somet share of ^^^*°y 
religion ; sincp,. after several ablutions and purifica- sentimepu 
tions, we Sieethem lift up their trunks like arms, and/^*^'**""* 
with thpir ey/es fixed towards the rising sun, continue 
a long time, at certain hours of the day, in medita* 
tira and contenjpjtation, of their own accord, with- 
put i^tivcUon jQir compiand. But, -^ because we do 
not see any thing likfB this in the other animals, we 
are not from thence to conclude that they have no 
religion at all> nor c^^ we have any sort of compre- 
hension of what is concealed from us. ' 

Yet we discern siomething in this transaction taken Remarks, 
notice of by 0ie philopojAer Qeanthes, because itJJ.*]|"^»^^"«« 
somewhat res^^nfoles what we do ourselves. ^^ Heaconfi^."* 
"saw/* )bye s^^s^S "a swarm of ants- going fr<>ni[^^JJ^ 
** their hill, ynih the dead body of an ant towards 
'* another hill, from which many other ants came 
^ forward to me^t them, as if to confer with themj 
^ and, ^er having been some time together, the lat^ 
** ter j:etuxneA to consult, vou may suppose, with 
^ ^e commUBiity of their ^, and so made two ox 

* Plutarch de Solertia Anim. cap. 24r. 

f Martial, lib. iv. ep. 80, ver. 6, 7. 

% Plin. Nat ^ist. lib. viii. cap. 1. 

§ Mttt^ch A^ jSoMia Axumal. cap. 12. 


•♦ three journies to finish their capitulatiori. In'tfre 
** conclusion, those that came last, brought to the 
** first a worm out of their burrow, as it were for the 
•* ransom of the deceased ; . which worm the first 
** carried home on their backs^ leaving the dead body 
•* with the others/' That was the construction 
which Cleantbes put upon this transaction^ by which 
he would give us to understand, that those animals 
which have no voice have nevertheless mutual deal- 
ings and communication, of which it is our own 
fault that we do not participate, and for that reason 
foolishly take upon us to give our opinion of it. 
A uttie But tney produce other effects &r beyond our capa- 
St St** ^^*y» which it is so difficult for us to attain by imita- 
a*iip u tion, that we can hardly conceive of it by imagifta- 
•*■• tion. Several are of opinion, that in that last great 
sea-fight, wherein Antony was defeated by Augustus, 
his admiral'^s gaUey was stopped, in the midst of her 
course, by that small fish wnich the Latins called a 
remora, which has the peculiar properly of staying 
all sorts of vessels to which it sticks. And the em- 
peror Caligula,* sailing with a great navy on the 
coast of Romania, his single galley was- stopped on a 
sudden by this same fish, which he caused to be 
taken, stuck as it was to the keel of his ship, very 
angry that so little an animal could resisf the sea, 
and the winds, and the force of aH his oars, by being 
only fastened by the beak (for it is a shell-fish) to 
His galley ; and was morcorcr astonished, not with- 
out great reason, that, when it wa9 brought to him 
in the long-boat, it had lost that power. 
Afiedge. A* citizen of Cyzicus formerly t acquired the repu- 
tedf**?* tation of a good mathematician, for having learned 
knowwgc the property of a hedge-hog. It has its burrow open 
•^.^^^^ m divers places, and to several winds ; and, forcsee- 
wouw ing the change of the wind, stops the hole on tiiaf 
**°^- side; which that citizen perceiving, gave the city 

• Plin. Nat Hist, lib. xxiii cap- 1. 

f PhttarcK de Solertia AnimaL Gap« 15)- infiqe* 

RAIM OKD D£ 8£B0M>£. 85 

certam prodictions to what comer the ynnd woulci 
shift next. 

The camelion assumes a colour from * the place cfciMngeot 
its situation ; but the pourcontrel, or polypode fish,fbe^cameu. 
gives itself what colour it wiU^ according as it has ""»•»** 
occasion to conceal itself from what it fears, or whdt^^^io. 
it designs to seize : in the camelion the chauTC isj^^^^* 
passive, but in the pourcontrel it is active. We nave 
some changes of colour, as in fear, anger, shame, and 
other passions, which alter our complexions; but 
the cause of this is suffering, as it is with the came* 
lion. It is in the power of the jaundice, indeed, to 
make us yellow, but it is not in the power of our 
own will. Now these effects, which we discover in 
other animals, greater than those which we ourselves 
produce, imply some more excellent &culty in them, 
which is hidden from us ; as it is to be presumed, 
that they have several other qualities and powers, of 
ii4uch no appearances have yet come to us. 

Of a]l the predictions of old time, the most an*Pradie. 
cient, and the most certain, were those taken fromjj^^jjj* 
the flight of birds. We have nothing like it^ nor soof binL 
wonderful. Such was the rule and method of moving 
their wings, from whence the consequences of fii* 
ture things were inferred, that the flight must neces- 
sarily be guided by some excellent means to so 
noble an operation ; for to attribute this great effect 
to some natural direction, witliout understandings 
consent, and reason, in that which produces it, is an 
opinion absolutely false. That it is so, appears from 
the torpedo, or cramp-flsh, which has tnis quality^ 
not only to benumb all the members that touch it, 
but even, through the fishing-nets, to transmit a stiff- 
ness to the hands of those that move and handle 
them ; nay, more, if water be poured on it, a 
numbnesst will ascend from it ^against the stream, 

* Plutarch de Solertia Animal, cap. 28. 

t Montaigne would mislead us here, or, rather, liB muled hiin- 
•etf ; for, because the craipp-^uh benumbs the members of those who 
touch it, ^ndbeotuse the cranes, swallows, and the other birds of 

ftnd stupify the $e»e of feding, dircjugb even the 
medium of water. This is a surprising power, but it 
is not useless to the cramp-fish : it knows it, and 
makes use of it ; so that, in order to catch its prey, 
it lurks under the mud^ that other fishes swimming 
over it, struck and benumbed with this cold quality 
of the cramp-fish, may fail into its power. 
Bird! of The cranes, swallows, and other birds of passage, 
P"««« shifting their residence according to the seasons of 
cb^of the year, show plainly, that they have a knowledge 
thesMioiis. ^f fJi^j. ^y^ prescience, and put it in practice. 
Bitchei We are assured, by huntsmen, that the best wa^ 
whfdi is ^ choose out of a litter of whelps that which i» 
the' bat of fittest to be preserved, is to leave it to the choice of 
^jj the dam, as thus ; take them out of the kennel, a 
^' little way, and lay them down, when the first that 
she carries back will certainly be the best, as will 
that also be which she first runs to save, if you sur- 
round the kennel with fire, as if you intended to 
bum it. By this it appears, that they. have a prog- 

piAage efa^nge their dimate according to the seasons of the year, it 
Dy no means follows that the predictions^ pretended to be derived 
from the flight of birds, are founded on certain faculties, which 
those birds have, of discovering things future to such as take the 
pains to watch their various motions. The Vivacity of our author's 
genius has made hifli» in this place, confound things together thai 
are very different* For the properties of the cramp-fish, cranes^ 
and swallows, appear from sensible effects ; but the predictibps said 
to be denvcd from the flight of certain birds, by virtue of the rule 
send method of the motion of their wing^, &te only foun^d xsp6tk 
bumain imaginations, the reality whereof was never proved ; which 
have varied according to times and places, and which, at length. 
Have loM all credit with the very people that were inpst possessed 
with them : but I am of opinion, that Montaigne only makes use 
here of the divining fliculty of the birds, to puzzle d^ose dogma- 
tiM who decide so positively, that the animals have neither reason 
nor intellect; in this he has imitated Sextus Empiricus, in Pyrr. 
liypot lib. i. cap. 14, p. 16, who, attackmg the aOgmatist on this 
▼ery article, fe^vs expressly, ** That it cannot be denied, Chat ttie 
** birds have the use of speech, and more \ e letration than we 
** have ; because, not only by their knowledge of the present, but 
*< also of thiiws future, they discover the latter, to sudi as are otf- 
** pable of undemanding uiem, by their voice» and seveial other 



nosdcftting quality, which we h»ve not ; or that ihe^ 
have some sense to judge of their whelps* which is 
difierent from mid quicker than ours. 

The manner of coming into the world, of engeur 
dering, nourishing, acting, moving^ Uving, and 
dyiAg of beasts, so much resembling our mann^r^ 
whatever we retrench from their motives^ and add 
to our own condition above theirs, can by no meiins - 
proceed from the diseussion of our reason. For the 
regimen of our health, the physicians preseribe tQ 
us the beasts' manner of living for our ioutation ; fin! 
thia ia a common old saying: 

Tenex ckauUs les pieds ef la teste j 
Ju deriieuraf^f vwez en teste. 

Keep hand^ and feet v^ami ; for iht i«st, 
Tboa must resolve to life a be^it. 

V)z. to eat and drink no more than will do thee good. 
The chief of all naturid actions is generation : we 
have a certain disposition of members to that eqd» 
which is the most proper for us; nevertheless^ 
we are ordered by Lucretius to Qpnform .to the 
gesture and posbire of the brutes as the most 

Chtadrapeiumqveniagisntu^ ^erum^ puianiut 
Umapere uxeife$ : quia sic hca mmeireposswU^ 
Pedoribus posilis, subletis sendna lumbisJ^ 

And the same authority eondemns, as Imrtfiil, diosft 
indiscreet and impudent motions, which the women 
have addedt of their own invention, towhom ttpKKi 
poses ihe more temperate and ihodert patera «ld 
pacticf of the beasts of their own sex : 

Nam mulier prohibet se concipfre atque repugnai, 
Cbtntbti9 ipsd viri Venerem si Iteta retract^, 
jfiijftie exossat^ ciet omni fectwcefluetus ; 
JS/tcie enimjkki recti regkme viaque 
fomeren^ atqiifi hois utmrtit jrnims ic/Mi,t 


Proof iif If it be justice to render to every one their due, 
Md'^^uu^ the beasts Aat serve, love, and defend their bene-r 
of tiic factors, and which pursue and fall upon strangers, 
****^- and those who offend, do, in this, snow a certaip 
appearance of our justice, as also in observing a very 
just equality in the distribution of what they have to 
their younff. 
j^^ As to friendship, theirs is, without comparison, 

friendship morc lively and constant than that of human beings, 
^"ill^'^ When king Lysimachus died, his dog Hyrcanus lay 
•tent than upou liis bed, obstinatcly refusing to eat or drink ; 
that of the ^^g^ ^^ the, day that his master's corpse was burnt, 
ran out of the ho\ise, and leaped into the fire, where 
he was also consumed.* The dog of one Pyrrhus 
did the like, which would not stir from off his mas* 
ter*s bed from the time he died ; and, when they 
carried him to be l^urnt, suffered itself to be carried 
along with him, aiid, finally, leaped upon the pile 
where they burnt the body of his master.t There 
are certain inclinations of affection that sometimes 
arise in us without the dictates of reaam, which pro- 
ceed from an accidental temerity, which some call 
sympathy : of this the beasts are juso capable as well 
as we. We see horses contract such an acquaint- 
ance with one another, that we have much ado to 
make them eat or travel when separated. We ob- 
serve them to be fond of a particular colour in 
those of their own kind, and, where they meet with 
it, run to it with great joy and tokens of good- 
will, but have a dislike and hatred for some other 
colour. . 

TheaDi- The auimals make choice in their amours as well 
STtf.whL^ we, and cull out their females : they are not ex- 
•icaj', and empt from jealousies, and malice that is vehement 
^^hT and implacable, any more than we : their desires are 
^tr^ either natural or necessary, as in eat^lg or drinking; 
weiTln^hu-or natural and not necessary, as the coupling witl^ 
■"wbciop. the females; or they are neither natural nor neces- 

* Plutarch deSolertiaAxumsL cap. 14. f Id.ib. 


sary, and of this la^t sort are, in a manner, all the 
dcMres of human beings : they are all superfluous and 
.lirtificial j for one would wonder to think how little 
will suffice nature, how little she has left us to desire : 
the cookery of our kitchens is not of her ordering. 
The stoics say, that a man might live upon an olivQ 
a day. The delicate wines we have are not of na- 
ture's prescription, nor the over-charging the appe- 
tites of love; 

"Neqiie ilia 

Magno prognatum depascit consule cunnumJ^ 

Nor, when it rages w- th its wild it lire, 
Does it a maid of (Quality rcqiiiie. 

These roving desires, which the ignorance of good, 
and a mistaken opinion, have infused into us, are so 
many that they almost exclude all the natural ones, 
just in the same manner as if there was so great a 
number of strangers in a city, as to thrust out the 
native inhabitants, and extinguish their ancient 
power and authority, by usurping and engrossing it 
entirely to themselves. The animals are much more 
regular than we, and confine themselves, with greater 
moderation, within the bounds which nature has pre- 
scribed ; yet not so strictly but they bear some re- 
semblance with our debauches : and, as there have 
been instances of men that have been hurried by fu- 
rious lust after beasts, so there have been the like of 
beasts who have been smitten with the love of men, 
and admitted the monstrous love of differing species : 
witness the elephant,t who was rival to Aristophanes 
the grsunmarian, when he courted a wench that used 
to sell nosegays in the city of Alexandria, to whom 
the elephant performed all the offices of the most 
passionate suitor; for, going through the fruit-mar^ 
Ket,he took some in his trunk, and carried it to her: 
l^e ^ept her, jsis much as possible, iq his sight, and 

f |Ior. lib. i. sat. % f Plutarch de Solent Animal, cap. 16. 


would sometimes run his trunk in her besom^ under 
her handkerchief, to feel her breasts. They tell 
also of a dragon that was in love with a maid ; of a 

Soose enamoured with an infant in the city of 
Lsoph ; and of a ram that was an humble sen^ant of 
the minstrelless Glaucia: and we, every now and 
then, see baboons violently in love with women : wc 
see also certain male animals that are fond of males 
of their own species: Oppianus and others give us 
some examples of the veneration^ which beasts have 
to their kindred in their acts of copulation, though 
experience pften shows us the contrary ; 

Nee hahetwr ivrpejuvenetB 

Ferre pattern tergo : fit equo suafilia conptx : 
Quasqne creavitt inii pecudes caper ; ipsaque pgut 
Semine concepta est^ ex Ulo concepii aleg. f 

The heifer thinks it not a shame to take 
Her curled sire upop her willing back : 
The horse his daugjiter leaps, goats scruple not 
To use as freely those they have begot : 
Birds, likewise, of all sorts in common live. 
And by the seed they have oonceiv'd, conceive. 

J^'JJ^ As for their mischievous subtlety, can there be a 
t«btiJi7 of stronger instance of it than in the mule of the philo^ 
aBHic. sopher Thales; wjiich happening to stumble as it 
was fording a rivulet wi^h a load of salt on its back» 
so that the bags wei^ all Y^et^ and perceiving that the 
salt was thereby melted, and his burden rendered 
the lighter, never failed afterwards, when it came ta 
any brook, to lie down in it with his load, till his. 
master, discovering his tric]^, or4ered him to h^ 

* Of this there ia a yer^ reinarkfll>Ie instance, which I met in 
Varro de Re Kustica, lib. li. cap. 7. As inoredible at it may seem 
h ought to be remembered, that a stallion refusing absolutely ta 
leap bis mother, the ^room thouffht fit to carry him tp her witft a 
doki over his head, which blinded him, and by that means he forced 
him to cover her; but, taking off the veil as soon as he got off her,^ 
the stallion ftiriously rushed upon him, and bit hin^ tiU he killed 

t Ovid. Metam. lib. z. ftb. 9. ver. 28, &C. 


loaden with wool i after which the mule, finding tl^at 
the same trick increased his burden instead of 
lightening it, he left it quite off.* 

Several animals are the very pictures of our covet- Animak 
ous people; for they take a vast deal of pains to catch {I|?nt^ 
all they can, and carefidly to conceal it, though they withar*- 
make no use of it. - •^^ ^^ -'^ < , ""' 

As to thrift, they surpass us not only in foresight, otben that 
so far as to lay up and hoard for the time, but theyJ^V*^ 
have also many branches of knowledge necessary for ^"*' 
that end. The ants bring out their com aiid peeds, 
and spread them abroad in the sun, to air, reftesh, 
and dry them, when they perceive they begin to 
stink and grow musty, lest they should corrupt and 
putrefy. But their precaution and prevention in 
nibbling the grains of wheat, surpass all imagina- 
tion: because the wheat does not always continue 
sound and dry, but grows soft, dissolves, and looks 
as it wer^ steeped in milk, whilst it hastens to sprout 
and shoot forth, for fear lest it should run to seed^ 
and lose its nature, and the property of a magazine 
for their subsistence, they nibble off the end by 
which it usually sprouts. ' 

In respect to war, which is the greatest and mostTb©i»iri<w 
pompous of human actions, I should be glad toknoWproJ'Sf * 
whether we choose it for an argument of some pre- weaknew 
rogative, or, on the contrary, for a testimony of our beiB^*ii 
weakness and imperfection; as, in truth, the^np^f^'" 
science of ruining and killing one another, and of"* 
lie8tro}^ng out own species, has nothing in it so 
tempting as to make it desirable by the beasts that 
have it not : 

'Quando leoni 

Fnrlior eripuU vitam leo, quo Tiemore unquam 
ExspiravU aper rhajoris dentUms apri Pf 

* Plutarch de Solertia AnimaL cap. 15, et ^lian de AnimaL Vf^ 
m cap- 42. ■ 
t Jinr. ssiUvr. \ir. i60, ^c. 


Who ever yet bebeU 

A weaker Ikm by a stronger kill'd ?. 
Or, in the forest, was it ever known 
That a small boar dy'd by a mighty one ? 

Yet they are not universally exempted ; witness the 
fiuious encounters of bees, and the enterprises of the 
pnnces of the two contrary parties : 

> SiBpeduobus 

BegUms incessU magno discordia moiUj 
Continiioque animis vulgi et trepidantia beUo 
Corda licet longe pr^esciscere.* 

Between two kings strange animosities^ 
With great commotion, often do arise ; 
When straight the vulgar sort are heard from far. 
Sounding their little trumpets to the war. 

I never read this divine description, but methinks I 
see a true picture of human folly and vanity : for, as 
to those warlike preparations that fill us with terror 
and astonishment, tnat rattle of drums, trumpets, 
and ^ns, and the noise of mighty shouts : 

Fulgur uM ad caelum se tollit, iotaque circum 
JEre renidescii teUus, sidterque virum vi 
Excitur pedibus sonituSf clamoreque monies 
Icti rejectant voces ad stdera mundi.f 

When bumish'd arms to heaven dart their rays. 

And the earth glows with beams of shining brass. 

And trampled is by horses and by men. 

So that its centre even groans again ; 

And that the Kicks, struck by the thund'ring noise. 

Reverberate the sound unto the skies. 

this dreadful embattling of so many thousand men in 
arms, and such fury, ardour, and courage ; it is really 
pleasant to consider the many idle occasions by 
which war is kindled, and by what trifling causes it 
is extinguished : 

• Virg. Georg, lib, iv. ver. 67, &€• + Luctet. lib. ii« c 327, ^ 

Paridis propter narratur amoremp 

draeda BarbaruB dWo coUisa duelloJ'^ 

Of wanton Paris the illicit love 

Did Greece mid Troy to cniel wilrfare move. 

AU Asia was ruined and destroyed by war, on ac« 
count of the lust of Paris. The envy of one single 
man, a spite, a pleasure, a domestic jealousy, causes* 
which one would not think should set two oyster 
wenches by the ears, is the spring and motive of all 
this great disturbance. Will we believe the men 
themselves, who are the principal authors and insti- 
gators of such mischief? Let us then hear the 
greatest, the most victorious, and most puissant 
emperor t that ever was, with great merriment and 
ingenuity, ridiculing the many battles risqued both 
by sea and land ; the blood and lives that were lost 
of hdf a million of men that followed his fortune ; 
and the power and wealth oi half the world ex« 
hausted for the expense of his expeditions : 

X Quodjiduit Glaphyren Anianius, hone mihi pcmam 

Fuhkt Constiluitf se quoque utifutuam : 
Fulviam ego utfutuam ? quid si me Manias oret 

Padicamffaciam P non puto, si sapiam : 
Aut-jutue^ out puenemus ait ; Quid si mihi vita 

Charior est ipsa meniula f Signa canant.^ 

* Horn. lib« L epist. 2. v. 6, 7. f Augustua. 

1 Martial, lib. x. epig;. 21, ver. 3, &c. 

§ This Epigram was composed by Augustus, but the lusdous 
Latin conveys sudh gro^ ana licentious ideas, that there would be 
no excuse for translatins; the lines without softening them ; and< 
therefore Peter Costa, who has enriched that edition of Montaigne 
(which is here done into English) with his notes,^ has given this 
French version of those lines bv M. de Fontenelle, in one of his in- 
comparable Diidogues of the i5ead, which, though the language 'm 
so very polite, lets us entirely into Augustus's meaning, 

Parce qu*Atitoine est eharmS de Glaphire, 
FtUvie a ses beaux veux me veut assufettir. 
Antmne est ir^deue : He bien doncf Est ce adire 
Qfie desJaiUes d^Antmne on mefera poHr f 
■ Qui^nnoiff qtieje serve Fnioie? 
Ace cofMteonverroiiseretirerversmoy 
Milk jSpouses mat soHsfaites* ^ , 

d4 AN APOLOOT volt 

(I use my Latin with the liberty of conscience you 
nave been pleased to allow me.) Now, this great 
body has so many aspects and motions, as seem to 
threaten not only earth, but heaven : 

Quam muUi Lilyco volmntur imrpiorejluctiis, 

ScBviis ubi Orion kahemis eonditur undis, 

Vd mm 9ole novo densce i&rreniur oristiBy 

Aut Henni campOy aui LydceJlaventHms wrms^ 

Scuiasonanii pulmquepedum tremit exciiatelbiS.'^ 

Thkk as Ae waves on Libia's coast that Kmt, 

Wlien Orion drives the billows to the shore |. 

Or thick-set ears, inatur'd by summer's rains. 

Or Hermus' bank, or fruitAil Lycia's plains j 

Are ihe bright shields that hi the battles sound. 

And troops of horse whose trampling shakes the ground. 

This fiirioas m(Hi«ter, with 60 many heads laid hands, 
is still but feeUe, calamitous, and miserable man. It 
ift but a hillock of ants dirt^bed and proved by a 
spiurn : 

£ nigrum campis ugwienf 

The Mack army sallies out into tbe plain. 

A puff of a contrary wind, the croakii:]ig pf ^ flight 
of ravens^, (iie stumU^ of a horse, the accidental pas- 
sage of an eagle, a dream, a voice, a ingn, a morning 
mist, are any one of them enough to overturn and 
lay him flat -on the ground. Dart but a sun4>eamin 
his face, he is melted and vanished. Blow but a fittie 
dust in his eyes, as our poet says of the bees, and &Q 
our ens^iis and legions, with the great Pompey hiw- 

Akne tnd, me dit ette, ou combattons. Mais quoy^ 
EUe est Hen laide? AOons^ sonnez trompettes. 

Tause Anthopy is iir'd with Glaphire's charms^ 

Fain would his Fulvia tempt me to her arms ; 

If Anthony be false, whattiien? must I 

Be slave to Fuhria's lostful tytonny ? 

Then would a thousand wanton, waapish wi!9Ba 

Swarm to my bed like bees into their nives* 

Declare for Love, or Wa^, she said, and irovA'd : 

No love I'll gfODt : to arms bid trompets s^iind. 

♦ .ffineid, lib. vii. 718, &c. f M©"^ l**^^* ^'- ^^* 


self at their head, are routed and crushed to pieces ; 
for it was he, if I am not mistaken,* whom Serto- 
rius defeated in Spain, with all those brave troops 
which also served Eumenes against Antigonus, and 
Surena against Crassus : 

Hi moius animorum, atque hoc certamina tantdp 
Ptdveris exigidjactu compressa guiescent.f 

This mielity ferdaent, and these furious blow% 
A little mist dispersed will soon compose. 

Let us only slip our bees after them, and they 
will have the power and courage to disperse them. 
It is fresh in memory, how, when the city of Tamly^ 
in the territory of Xatina, was besieged by the Por- 
tuguese, die mhabitants, who had almndance of bee* 
hives, put out a great numkier of them upon the wall^ 
and, setting fire to the hives., the bees sallied out so 
furiously upon their enemies, that they gave over the 
siege, not being able to stand their attacks, and en« 
dure their stings : thus their victory, and the liberty 
of their city, was owing to this new kind of succours^ 
and with sudhi good fortune too, that, at their re- 
turn from the battle, there was not a single bee miss-* ^^'^ 
ing.t The souls of emperors and coblers are cast in 
the same mould. When we consider of what weight 
and importance the actions of princes are, we ima^ 
gine, that they are produced from some as weighty 
and important causes : but we are mistaken, for they 
are pushed on, and pulled back, in their motions, by 
the same springs as we are in ours. The same rea- 
son that makes us wran^e with a neighbour, raises a 

* Here MonUigne had reason to be a little distrustiii] of his me- 
mory ; Ibr it was net against Pompey that Sertoritu made use of this 
itrata^em, but against the Caracitanians, a people of Spaia^ who 
Kved m deep caves dug m a rock, where it was impossible to force 
Item. See Plntarcby in the Life of Sertorius, cap. 6. 

f Ving.GeOrg.Iib. iT.^er.66, 87. 

% Motttfl^ne, to be sure doeanot meaa, that this expression should 
be taken in the literal sense ; for how could he be so exactly in- 
ibrfiaed of the faite of all Chose hees ? Great wits naturally run into 
hyperboles ; but, perhaps, I shall be told, that too severe critics 


An apology for 



war between princes ; and the same cause that makes 
us horse-whip a foot-boy, falling into the breast of a 
king, makes hirti ruin a province. They are as easily 
moved as we are, but they can do more. The pas- 
sion is the same in a maggot as an elephant. 

As to fidelity, there is not an animal in the crea- 
tion to be compared with man for treachery. Our 
histories inform us of the eager pursuits which have 
been made, by dogs, afler those who have murdered 
their masters. King Pyrrhus, passing by a dog, 
which he observed watched a dead man's body, and 
hearing that he had done so for three days together, 
ordered the corpse to be buried, and took the doff 
along with him. One day, as he was at a generiu 
muster of his army, the dog happened to spy the 
very men that murdered his master, and, with 
great barking and fury, attacked them; which 
fierce accusation roused a revenge of this murder, 
that was soon afler taken by a course of jus- 
tice.* The very same thing we read of the wise He- 
siod's dog, which, in like manner, convicted the sons 
of Ganister, of Naupacte, of having murdered his 
master.t Another dog, that was set to guard a tem- 
ple at Athens, perceiving sacrilege committed by a 
thief, who carried away the richest jewels, barked at 
him most furiously ; which, however, not awaking 
the church- wardens, he followed him, and, after -day- 
break, kept at a little more distance from him, but 
without ever losing sight of him ; though the thief 
offered him something to eat, he would not take it, 
but, to every passenger he met, he wagged his. tail, 
and took whatever they were pleased to give him : 
mean time, wherever the thief laid down to sleep, he 
likewise staid at the same place. The church-war« 
dens having intelligence of this dog, they traced him, 
by inquiring what colour he was of, and, at last, 
found both the dog and the thief at the town of 
Cromyon, from whence they brought back the latter 
to Athens, where he was punished : and the judges. 

* Plutarch de SolerU Aniraalium, cap. 12. * f Idem, ibid« 


in acknowledgment of the dog's good of^e, ordered 
a certain measure of com, out of the public granary, 
for his daily allowance, and that the priests should 
take care of it* Plutarch relates this story as a cer- 
tain fact, and as what happened in his time. 

As for ^titude (for methinks we had needs bring The nobie 
lids word into a little repute), this one example willfJ}J)|J"**^ 
suffice for it, which Ajppiont reports himseuto have 
been an eye-witness off " One day," says he, ** as 
^ they were entertaining the people at Rome witih 
^ the fighting of several wild beasts, and especially 
*' lions of an unusual size ; there was one amongst 
*f the rest, which, by its furious aspect, by the strength 
^ and largeness of its limbs, and by its loud and 
<< dreadfm roaring, attracted the eyes of all that 
" were present. Among the other slaves, that were 
^ brought to the theatre in this battle of the beasts^ 
^ was one Androdus of Dacia, who belonged to a 
^ Roman nobleman of consular dignity. This lion» 
^ perceiving him at a distance, first made a sudden 
^' stop, as it were with a look of admiration, and 
'^ then softly advanced nearer in a gentle and peace- 
'' able manner, as if it desired to be acquainted with 
*' him. This done, and being now assured that he was 
^ the man it wanted, the lion began to wag its tail 
'^ as dogs do when they fawn upon their masters, 
^ and ^11 to kissing and licking tne hands and legs 
*' of the poor wretch, who was quite beside himseli^ 
** and half dead with fear ; but being, by this kind- 


* Plutarch de Solertia Animal, cap. 12, et in JEViKa. 

f Aulus Gellius (lib. v. c. 14.) has transmitted this story to tts, on 
tbe credit of Appion : a learned man, saplie, but whose great osten- 
tation renders nmi, perhaps, too verbose in the narrative of things, 
which he says he had heard or read : as to this fact, Appion relates, 
that he was an eye-witness of it at Rome; and Seneca Qib. ii. cap. 
19.) confirms \ij in some measure, by these few words, Leonem m 
amphitheatre spectavimus qui unum e bestiariis agnitum, quum quon* 
dam ejus fuisset maeister, protexit ab impetu bestiarum. ** Vf e saw 
** a lion in the amphitheatre, who, finding a man there condemned 
** to fight with the beasts, who had fbrmerly been his master, pro* 
** tected him from the fury of the other beasts.'' 


'^ ness of the lion, a little come to Iiiiiisel^ akid'b««r^ 
'' ing taken so much heart as to kwk at the beast, 
'^ and to make much of it, it was a singular pleasure 
*^ to see the caresses of joy that passed oetween 
*^ them. The people breakii^ into loud acckm»- 
^^ tions at this s%ht, the emperor caused the stave 
'^ to be called to him, in order to know from him 
*^ the cause of so strange an occurrence^ and ke 
*^ gave him this strange and wonderful relatiimr 
^^ My master, (said he), being a proconsul in 
'^ Amca, I was constrained by & cruel usage of 
^ me, as he caused me to be beat every day, to stealr 
•* from him and run away. And, in order to hide" 
*^ myself securely from a person of so great aotho- 
** rity in the province, I thought it my best way ta 
*^ fly ta the sandy and sofitary deserts of that eoun- 
*^ try, with a resolution, tKat, if I could get no- 
*^ thing to support life, I would some way or other 
^* dispatch it. The sun being so bummg hot at 
*^ noon, that it was intolerable, I accidentaUy found^ 
^ a private and almost an inaccessible cave, into- 
^^ which I went. Soon afiter, this lion came to it 
'^ with one paw wounded and bleedings and the 
*^ smart it endured made it complain and groan.. 
** Its approach terrified me very much } but, nosoo^ 
*^ er had lie spied me lurking in a comer of its den» 
*• but it came to me very gently, holding up it5 
** wounded paw to my sight, aa if it begged my as-' 
^ sistance. I then dr^w out a great thorn from it, ' 
" and, growing a Uttle femiliar with it, I squeezed 
" the wound, pressed out the foul matter that was 
** gathered in it, wiped it, and cleansed it in the 
•' best manner I could. The lion, fmding its' pain? 
•* assiiaged, and the cause of it removed, laid it- 
** self down to rest, and slept all the time with his. 
•* paw in my hands. From tliat time forwards, tlie 
•* lion and I lived together in this den three whole 
** years upou one and the same diet; for, of the 
" beasts which it killed in hunting, it brought ma 
•^ the best pieces, which I roasted in the sun for 


*' watrt of a fire, and then eat them. At length, 
*^ bemg quite tired ^vith this brutal savage life, as 
** the lk)h was gone out, one day, as usual, in search 
** of its prey, I set out from its den, and, on the 
" third day after my departure, was seized by sol- 
*' diers, who brougnt me to this city from Africa, 
" and delivered me up to my master, who presently 
^* condemned me to die, and to be exposed to the 
*' wild beasts. And, by what I saw, this lion was 
" also taken soon after, which has now shown its in- 
** cfination to recompense me for the kindness and 
** cure it received at my hands.*' This was the 
* story as related by Androdus to the emperor, and 
which he also conveyed from hand to hand to the 
people. Therefore, at the request of all the people, 
ne was set at liberty, and absolved from the sentence, 
and the lion was, by their order, given to him as a 
present. We afterwards saw (says Appion) Andrt- 
dus leading this lion by nothing but a string, from 
tavern to tavern, at Rome, and receiving the bounty 
of the people, the lion being so gentle as to suffer 
itself to be covered with the flowers that were thrown 
upon it, while every one that met them cried. There 
goes the lion that protected the man ; there goes the 
loan that cured the lion. 

We often lament the loss of the beasts that we 
love, and so do they the loss of us : 

Post bellator equus^positis insignUms, ^thon 

li lachrymanst guitisque humeciat grandibus oraJ^ 

The triumph mofe to grace, 

Mihoa, his horse of war, came next in place, 
Which, of hb trappings stript, showed such regret. 
That with large tears his hairy cheeks were wet. 

As, in some nations of the world, wives are in coin- 
jmon, and as, in some others, every man has his owift 
in particular, is not the same visible among the 
beasts, and their marriages better kept than ours i 

* Virg. Mutld. lib. xi. v. 89, 90. 


ThetociHy As to the society and agreement, which nations 
•^iT^e ^^"" amongst themselves to league togetlier, and id 
mnfamh. give One another mutual assistance ; we perceive 
that oxen, swine, and other animals, if any one c£ 
them that we offend cries out, all the herd or flock 
of the same lund run to its assistance, and rally to 
defend it 
Among the When tfic scarc-fish* has swallowed the fisher- 
*'*^**''* man's hook, its companions till crowd about it, and 
gnaw the line asunder ; and if, by chance, one be got 
into the leap or weel, the others present their tails to 
it on the outside, which the scare holding fast with 
its beautiful teeth, is thereby disengaged and drawn- 
Among the Barbcls, t whcu any one of their companions is 
teriMii!^ hampered, throw the line over their backs, and with 
a fin, which they have there indented like a saw, they 
saw and cut it asunder, 
•rtween As to the particular" officcs whick we receive from 
and 1^1] one another for the service of life, there are many iur 
•*• stances among them of the like kind. They say 
that the whale neVer moves,^ but a little fish like a 
sea-gudseont always goes before it, which is there- 
fore called a guide. Tnis the whale follows, suffering 
itself to be led and turned about by it, as easily as 
the ship is turned by its rudder : and in recompense, 
as it were, for this service, whereas every other thing, 
whether an animal or a vessel, which enters into the 
dreadful gulph of this monster's mouth, is instantly 
lost and swallowed up ; this little fish retires into it 
. with the greatest security, and there sleeps, during 
which the whale never stirs. But as soon as ever 
it goes out, the whale follows it, and if, by chance, it 
loses sight of its little guide, it wanders up and down 
in quest of it, and often rubs against the rocks like a 
ship that has lost her rudder. This Plutarch affirms 
he saw in the island of Anticyra. 

* Plutarch de Solertia Animtdiuxni c. 26r | Idexiii Ibid* 

X Idem, cap. 32.^ 


There is tihe like communiGation between that Kt-Ti»wren 
tie bird they call a wren, • and the crocodile. Thej;;*.'**''"' 
wren keeps eentry as it were over this great animal^ 
and if the ichneumon, its mortal enemy, approaches 
to attack it, this little bird, for fear it «iould take the 
crocodile napping, by singing, and pecking it with 
its bill, awaJces and iiv^ams it of its danger. The --^ 
bird feeds on the scraps left by this monster, whidi 
admits it familiarly into its mc^th, and suffers it to 
peck in its jaws, and to pick and eat the bits of flesh 
that stick between its teeth; and, when the croco- 
dile has a mind to shut its mouth, it gives the Irird 
previous notice to go out of it, by doling it gra*. 
duafly without bruising or hurting it. 

The shell'fish, called the naker,t lives also upon Tht^naim 
the same good terms with the shrimp, a Kttle animal *"'**'^'* 
of the crab-fish kind, which serves it as a porter, 
sitting at the opening of the shell which the naker 
keeps continudly open and gaping, till the shrimp 
see some little nsh go into the shell that is proper 
for their prey ; for then it likewise enters into the 
sheO, and, by pinching the naker to the quick, 
forces it to shut the shell, where both together 
devour the prey which is thus imprisoned in their 

In the manner as the tunny-fish live, we observe The tmj. 
their singular knowledge of the three parts of thefj^j*^ 
mathematics. As to astrology, they teach it towithth© 
mankind ; for at what place^soever they are «ur»JJS^*"*'*' 
prised by the winter's solstice,^ there they stop, and 
never stir from it till the next equinox ; for which 
reason, Aristotle himself readi^ attributes this 
science to them. As to geometry and arithmetic^ 
they always form their body in the figure of a cube, 
every-where square,§ and make up the body of a 
solid, dose battalion, with six sides exactly equal | 

* Plutarch de Solertla Animal, cap. 32. 

f Jd. ib^cU et Cip. de Nat. Deorum, lib^ ii. cap. 4r8. 

i Plutarch de SJblertia Animal, cap. 29. 

f Idem, cap. 31^ 


and tlien they sw^oi in this square disposition, as 
broad behind as before ; so that whoever sees and 
counts one rank o£ them, may easily tell the number 
of which the whole shoal consists, by. reason that the 
depth is equal to the breadth, and the breadth to the 
Themagna- RjBspecting magnanimity, ^t is not easy to pro- 
•iTiidian ^^^ ^^ instance that bears a greater appearance of 
dog. it, than this story of the great dog, that was sent 
from the Indies to king Alexander.. They first 
* brought ast^ to fight it, next a wild boar, and then 
a bear, all which he despised and disdained tp stir 
from its place ; but when he saw a lipn, he inline- 
diately rouzed* himself, evidently manifiei|titig, that 
he declared that beast aloije to be worthy to enter 
the lists with him. 
Reprat. As to repentance, apd the acknowledgment of 
•nceof an-fjjults, they tell of an elephapt, which, having killed 
elephant, j^^ keeper in the violence of its rage, waa so ex- 
tremely ?orry for it, that it would never eat after-* 
Vardsr, and starved itself to death. 
Thecie- Qf clcmcncy, we are told, that a certain t;ger, 
• ti^w.*' the most savage of all beasts, having a kid t delivered 
up to him, suffered two days* hunger rather than Ji© 
would hurt it ; and, on the third, broke open the 
grate he was shut in to seek for some Qther pasture, 
being unwilling^ to fall upon the kid, his familiar an4 
his inmate. And as to the laws of familiarity an4 
correspondence, formed by conversation, it is a com- 
mon thing to 9ee cats, dogs, and hares, brought up 
tame together. 
The won- , But what they havc experienced who have made 
**r^J^«J2^ voyages, particularly in the sea of Sicily, as to the 
Uc^om. quality of halcyons, surpasses all human thought* 
What kind of animals has nature ever honoured sfi 
qiuch in their hatching,^ birth, and production ? thu 
poets say indeed, that one only island, viz. that of 

* Plutarch de Solertia Animal, cap. 14. ^ Idest, ca|>. I9« 

i Idem, cap. 34. 

RAIMOKD D£ 8BB0Kt)E. 103 

D^lM, wliich hefoft was floating, was fixed for the 
|iiirpose of Latona's delivery; but God has been 
pleased to order that the whole ocean should be 
stayed, settled, and made smooth without waves, 
without winds or rain, while the halcyon lays her 
ftggSy which is exactly at the winter's solstice, on 
the shortest day of the year ; so that by its privilege 
we have seven days and seven nights in the very 
4epth <rf winter, wherein we may sail without any 
danger* Their females never couple With any other 
mate but their own, which they assist as long as they 
Itve^ without ever abandoning it : and, if it happenit 
to be weak and broken with age, they take it on their 
shoulders, carry it i^om place to place, and serve it 
till death. 

. But no one has yet been able to attain to the The won. 
knowledge of that wonderful architecture, where- brkof Sir 
with the halcyon builds its nest for its young, nor to oesu. 
gueils at the matter of its composition. Hutarch^ 
who saw and bandied many of them, thinks they are 
tomposed of the small b6nes of some fish, joined and 
bound together, and interlaid, some lengthways, and 
others across, with the addition of ribs and hoops in 
such a manner, that she forms at last a round vessel 
fit to be launched i and when she has quite finished 
if, she carries it to the wash of the beach, where, the 
Ma beating gently against it, she is thereby enabled 
to discover any part that is not well joined, «nd to 
strengthen snch parts as are leaky ; and, oh the con- 
trary, what is well jdined, is so closed and knit toge*' 
iSier, by the beating- of the w^ve^, that it is not to 
be broke, or damaged^ without very great difficulty^ 
by the stl'cmgest Wows, either of stone or iron. But 
what is most of all to be admired, is the proportion 
and figure of the cavity within ; for it is put toge- 
ther, and proportioned, in such a manner, that it 
cannot possibly receive or admit any thing but the 
bird which built it, it bising to any thing else so ira^ 

* Plutarch de Solertia Aiumal. cap. S4« 


penetrably close and dhut, that not even the water 
of the sea can enter it. Thus you have had a v^ 
clear description of this building, and from a good 
authority ; and y6t, methinks, it does not give a suffi- 
cient light into the difficulty of the architecture. Now 
from what vanity can it proceed, that we should de- 
spise and put a disdainful construction upon facts 
which we can neither imitate nor comprehend ? 
Thefacuity To pursue this equality and confonnity between 
t\on^^ US and the beasts a httle farther, the privil^e which 
raon to the the sopl of man so much boasts, of bringing every 
^;^"^"j^. thing it conceives to its own standard, of stripping 
manix>. all things, that come before it, of their mortal and 
wt for* corporeal qualities ; of ranging the things which it 
exiiinpi^, deems worthy of its notice, of stripping and divest- 
"»<>'*>do«s.-jjg them of their corruptible qualities, and making 
tliem lay aside thickness, length, depth* weight, co- 
lour, smell, roughness, smothness, hardness, softness, 
^nd all sensible accidents, as so many mean and su- 
perfluous vestments, to accpmmodate them to her 
own immortal and spiritual nature, so that, while I 
think of Rome or Paris, I imagine and comprehend, 
either without the ideas of greatness, situation, stone, 
plaster, and timber : this very privilege, I say, seems 
to be evident in beasts. For as a war-horse, accus- 
tomed to the sound of trumpets, the firing of mus- 
kets, and the bustle of battles, will start and tremble 
in his sleep, stretched out upqn his litter, as if he was 
engaged in fight ; it is certain, that it has some in-: 
ternd conception of the beat of a drum without 
noise, and of an army witho.i|t arms, and without 

Qwppe vtdelis equo% fortes^ cUm membra jaeehanif 
InsomneSj sudare tametiy spirarequ^ ^<Bptj 
JbV quasi de palma summas contendere vjaresJ^ 

You shall see running horses, in their sleejp, 
Sweat, bnort, start, tremble, and a clutter keep. 
Just as if striving with their utmost speed, ' 
In the keen race to gain the victor's meed. 

* Lucret lib. iv. ven 984. 


The hare, which a grey-hound dreams of, and which 
iBre aee him pant after in his sleep, stretching out his 
tail at the same time, shaking his legs, and perfectly 
ly representing the motions of coursing, is a hare 
without skin, and without bones: 

Fenaniumque canes in molU smpi qmete 
Jaeiant crura tamen subiio, vocesaue repent} 
Miitimtj ei crebrat reducunl narilus auras, 
Ut vestigia si teneant nwentaferarum t 
ExpergefactiguefSequuniut inasiia seep} 
Corvorum simulaeraffiigee quasi dedita cemant} 
Donee discussis redeant errorilms ad i<;t 

And often hounds, when sleep has clos'd their eyes, 
WQl toss and tumble, and attempt to rise. 
Snuff, and breathe quick and short, as if they went 
In a foil chase, upon a burning scent : 
Na]^, when amrd, they fancy'd stags pursue. 
As if they had them in their real view, 
Till, having shook themselves more broad awake, 
. They do, at last, discover the mistake. 

We often observe the house-dogs snarling in thdr 
dreams, then barking and starting up on a sadden, as 
tf they saw some stranger at the door ; which stran« 
ger, all the while, is dtogether spiritual and imper^ 
cqptible, without dimension, without complexiont 
and without existence : 

Consueta domi catulorum llanda propago 
Degere, scepe levem ex oculis volucremque soparem 
Discutere, et corpus de terra carripere instant^ 
Premde quan ignotas fades atque era tueanlur.f 

The fawning whelps of houshold curs will rise. 
And, shaking the soft slumber from their eyes^ 
Oft bark and stare at ev'ry ope within^ 
As upon &cep they had never sjeen. 

As to the beauty of the body, it is absolutely ne- wint 
cessary to know, in the first place, whether we are JJjJity. 
agreed in the description of it. It i9 probable we 
hardly know what beauty is in nature and in general, 

^ Lacret lib* nr. vep. 988,&c^ f Idem, ibid. ver. 995, &c. 


beeaiise to our own personal b6aUty we give so many 
different forms, for which, were there any natural 
prescription, we would acknowledge it in common^ 
ks we do the heat of fire j but we fincy the forma 
according to our own appetite : 

Turpis Romano Belgicus ore color J" 
A JGrerraan hue ill suits a Roman face. 

The Indians paint beauty black and tawny, with 
great blubber lips, flat and broad hoses, and load 
the cartilage between the nostrils with great gold 
rings, to make it hang down to the mouth, as also the 
under lip with great hoops adorned with precious 
stones that weigh it down to the chiii, it hcing, with 
them, a singular grace to show their teeth, even be* 
' low the roots. In Peru, the longest ears being the 
most beautiful, they stretch them out as much as 
they can by art : and a man, now living, says that, 
in an eastern nation, he saw this care of enlarging 
the ears, and loading them with ponderous jewels, in 
sach high repute, that with great ease, be put bia 
^rm, sleeve and all, through the hole of an ear. 
There are nations, elsewhere, which take great care 
tfi black their teeth, and hate to see them white, 
whilst others paint them red.. The wora«» aire re* 
puted the more beautiful, not only in Biscay, but' 
elsewhere, and even ip certain frozen countn^s, as 
Pliny says,t for having their heads shaved. The 
Mexicans reckon it a beauty to have a low forehead, 
and, though they shave all other parts, they nourish 
hair on their foreheads, and increase it by art ; and 
they have great breasts in such esteem, that they af- 
fect to give their children suck over their shotMers: 
this we should reckon a deformity. The Italians 
like a woman tliat is £it and bulky : the Spaniards 
one that is lean and slender ; aud, with us, one h 
for a fair complexion, another for a brown > one foi; 
^ofl and delicate limbs, another prefers a woman that 

* Propert. lib. ii. e?eg. 18. ver. 26. t Nat. Hibt. lib. Ti, cap. 19. 


i$ strong and buxom ? one requires her to be fond 
and gende, another proud and stately : just so is the 
preference in beauty, which Plato attributes to the 
spherical figure, and the Epicureans to the pyramidal 
or square, for they could not worship a god in the 
form of a bowl. 

But, be this as it will, nature has no more exempt- Men are 
cd us from her common laws, in this respect, than"^"n 
the rest: and if we think rightly of ourselves, weP"*n*«f 
shall find that, if there be some animals not so^^^ete 
much favoured in this quahty as we are, there are*»^^ 
others, and in great number too, that are .more so. 
A multis ammalibus decore mncimur ;* many animals 
exceed us in comeliness, nay, even of the terrestrial 
ones, our compatriots : for as to those of the sea (set- 
ting aside their shape, which cannot bear any manner 
of resemblance, it is so much of another sort ), we are 
inferior to them in colour, cleanness, smoothness, 
disposition ; and no less inferior, in all respects, to 
those of the air. And as for the prerogative which 
the poets cry up so much of our erect stature looking 
towards heaven, our orignal: 

fronaqvjt cum spectant animalia ccetera ierram^ 
Os homini sublime dedii, ccelumque tueri 
Jussitj et erecios ad sydera tollere vultus.f 

Whilst all the brutal creatures dcmnaward bend 
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend^ 
He set man's lace aloft, tliat with his eyes 
Up-lifted^ he might view the starry skies, 

it is purely poetical ; for there are several little beasts 
which have their sight absolutely turned towards 
heaven, and I actually think the faces of camels and 
ostriches much more raised and erect than ours. 
What animals are there that have not their faces 
above, and iri front, and that do not look right against 
them as well as we, and that do not in their true pos- 
ture, see as much of heaven and earth as we do ? And 

* Senec^ ep. 124^ towards the end, 
i Ovid Met. lib. i. fab. 1^, yer. 51, &(^ 


what qualities of our bodily constitution, descrilied 
by Plato and| Cicero,* may not be as essential to 
a thousand sorts of animals ? The beasts that most 
resemble us are the most deformed and despicable 
of the whole class ? those most like to us, in the out- 
ward appearance and make of the i^ce, are monkeys : 

Simia quam similis, turpissima lestia, nobis If 

How like to men, in visage and in shape, 
k, of all beast3 the most uncouth, an ape ! 

and, as for the intestines and vital parts, the hog. 
ifavhns Verily, when I entertain the idea of any of the 
fwiTo'S' ^"^^^ species stark naked (even in that sex which 
covered secms to have the greatest share of beauty), when 
lSb^*aL. I consider of his defects, i^iiiathe is naturally liable 
to, and his imperfections, I think we have more 
reason to be covered than any other animal, and are 
to be excused for borrowing of those creatures, to 
which nature has been kinder, in this respect, tibaa 
to us, in order to dress ourselves with their finery^ 
^nd to cover ourselves with their spoils of wool, fca# 
thers, hair, silk, &c. For the rest, it is observable^ 
that man is the on|y animal whose nakedness is ofien- ^ 
sive to his own companions, and the only creature 
'' who steals from his owq species to perfbrpi tJie of- 
Liices of nature. In(|eed, it is also ^ fact worthy of 
consideration, that they, who are connoissaurs in th^ 
mysteries of love, prescribe, as a remedy for the amo- 
rous passion, and to cool the heat of it, a free sight 
of the beloved object : 

Hie quod olsccenas in aperto corpore partes 
Viderutj in cursu quifuit heesit amar.X 

The lover, when those nudities appear : 
Open to vi^w, fi«g» in the hot career, 

^ By Plato in his Tfmeu!!, and by Cicero in his tract I>e Natnra 
Deprum, lib. ii. cap. 54*, &c. But this is set in ik better liffht by somc^ 
modem treatises of anatomy, where a comparison has l)een madQ 
between the human body and those of several animajs. 

f Ennius apud Cic. de Nat. Deorum, lib. L c. ^5« 

X Ovid, de Rcmed. Amoi. lib. ii. v. fffi, 94. 

■C s 


Although this receipt may, perhaps, proceed from 
a nice and cold humour, yet it is a strange sign of 
our imperfection, that habit and acquaintance should 
make us out of love with one another. It is not mo* 
desty, so much as art and prudence, that renders our 
ladies so circumspect as to refuse us admittance to 
their closets before they are painted and dressed for 
public view : 

Nee Veneres nostras hocfalUty qu^ magis ips<B 
Omnia summopere hos mice pastsccenia celant. 
Quos reiinere imUmt adstrictoque esse m amore.* 

Of this our ladies are full well aware. 
Which makes them, with such privacy and care, 
Beliind the scene all those defects remove. 
Likely to quench the flame of those they love. 

Whereas, in many animals, there is nothing which 
we do not love, and which does not please our 
senses ; even from their excrements and discharges 
we not only extract dainties lor our table, but our 
richest ornaments and perfumes. This discourse 
only concerns our common class of women, and is 
not so sacrilegious as to comprehend those divine, 
supematurkl, and extraordinary beauties that shine 
mnongst tis, like stars under a corporeal and terres- 
trial veil. 

As to the rest, the very share of nature's favours Man lays 
that we allow to the animals, by our o\m confession, f^^J^^^ 
is very much to their advantage: we attribute tohappinws 
ourselves benefits that are imaginary and fantastical, *hat^^hjch 
such too as are future and absent, and for which it is's^^-a'^o 
not in the power of man to be answerable ; or bene-*****" "** ' 
fits that we falsely attribute to ourselves by the li- 
centiousness of our opinion ; such as reason, know- 
ledge, and honour : and to the animals we leave, 
for their share, benefits that are substantial, agree- 
able, and manifest, such as peace, rest, safety, inno- 
cence, and health j I say, health, whicli is the fairest 

* Lucret. Ub. ir. v* 1 178, &c. 


imd richest present that is in the poster of nature 
to mstke to us, insomuch that the philosophers,* even 
the stoic, are so bold as to 8ay, that Heraclittts and 
Pherecydas, if it had been possible for them to have 
exchanged their wisdom for health, and thereby to 
have delivered themselves, the one from the dropsy, the 
other from the loui^y disease, would have made a 
good bargain. By this they set the greater vahie 
upon wisdom, comparing and putting it into the ba- 
lance with health, than they do in the following jm'o- 
position, which is also theirs. 
wfcerein They say, that if Circe had given two draughts to 
wptrior^**^ Ulysses, the one to make a fool wise, and the other 
exoeiience to make a wisc man a fool, Ulysses ought rather to 
iL'btfasu. have chose the last, than to have consented that 
Circe should change his human figure into that of a 
beast. And they say, that wisdom itself would have 
spoke to him after this manner : " Forsake me, let 
*' me alone, rather than lodge me under the figure 
" and body of an ass." What ! is this great and di- 
vine wisdom then abandoned by the philosophers for 
this corporeal and terrestrial veil ? At this rate it is 
not by reason, conversation, and by a soul, that we 
excel the beasts ; it is by our beauty, our fair com- 
plexion, and the curious disposition of our limbs, for 
all which we must quite give up our understanding, 
our wisdom, and all the rest. Well, I approve this 
natural and free confession ; certainly they knew 
that those parts, with which we make such a parade, 
are only mere fency. Tliough the beasts therefore 
had all the virtue, knowledge, wisdom, and stoical 
suflSciency, they would still be beasts, and would not be 
comparable to man, wretched, wicked, and senseless 
man : for, in fine, whatever is not as we are, is worth 
nothing; and a God, to procure himself esteem, 
must condescend to the same, as we shall show anon. 
By this it appears, that it is not by solid reason, but 

* Plutarch, in his tract of the common cobceptlons, Against th« 
Stoics, chap. 8 of Am^ot's trandation. 


by a focdiah and stubborn pride, that we prefer our- 
selres to the other atiimal^, and separate ourselvei 
from their condition and society. 

Bfity to return to my subject, we have, to our 
share, inconstancrfr, irremlution, uncertainty, sorrow, 
svperstition, a solicitude for things to come, even 
after our death, ambition, avarice, jealousy, envy, 
irrt^lar and ungovernable appetites, war, lying, 
disloyalt|r, detraction, axid curiosity ; surely we have 
fltraiigeiy overpaid for this same fine reason, onr 
which we so much value ourselves, and for this ca- 
pacity of judging and knowing, if we have bought it 
at the price c^ that i»fe»ite number of passions to 
which we are eternally subject; unless we shall think 
fit, as Socrates indeed does, to throw into the other 
scale this notable prerogutrve of man over the beasts, 
that nature has prescribed to the latter certain sea-* 
s^ns and limits for venereal pleasure, but* has givew 
the refns to the former at alt hours and occasions, 
t Ut vinum agrotis^ fuia prodest rard^ ndcet ^^- 
piss'imh^ melius est nonadhibere omnind^ quam, spe 
dubi(B salutisy in apertam perniciem inourrere : sicy 
haud scioj au melius fucrit huinano generi mo turn 
istum celerem cogitationisj acumen^ solertiam^ quam 
rationem vocamus^ quoniam pestifera fuit multisj 
admodum paucis salutaria^ non dari omnind^ quhriy 
tarn munifich et tarn largh dari. ** As it is better * 
*^ to give no wine at all to the sick, because it 
*^ often hurts them, and seldom does them good, 
^^ than to expose diem to manifest danger in hopes 
** of an uncertain benefit ; so I know it had been 
*' better for mankind,* that this, quickness and acute- 
*' ness of thought, wliich we call reason, had not 
^^ been givea to man at all, considering how de- 
^ structive it is to many, and how few there ara 
** to whom it is useful/* . 

* Xenophonti» ATw^rvitfBtfvp. lib* iv. cm^ 4, sect. 12. K«i (Ofii/$) 

#TK< Xi^^i "f***" ^* trvttxfk f**ixi^ 7"^*** ''*'^* ^ti^ix,***^ 
t Cic de Nat. Deor. lib. ili. cap. 27, Bdit^ Gtoao^ 


KiMw. Of what advantage can we suppose the knowledge 
Mge does of SO many thiQgs was to Varro and Aristotle ? Did it 
w from"?! exempt them &om human inconveniences? Were 
man iBcon- they freed by it from the casualties that attend a 
▼eiuenctt. p^j^^j, ^ j^j^ ^^y extract, from their logic, any con- 
solation in the gout? Or, because they knew how 
this humour is lodged in the joints, did they feel it 
the less ? Did they compound witii death, because 
they knew that some nations rejoice at its approach ? 
Or with cuckoldom, by knowing that there is a 
country where the wives are in common ? On the 
contrary, though they were held in the highest re-^ 
putation for their knowledge, the one amongst the 
Romans, the other amongst the Greeks, and at a 
time when learning flourished most, yet we have not 
4ieard of any particular excellence in their lives ; 
nay, the Greek had enough to do to clear himself 
from some remarkable blemishes in his. Have we 
observed, that pleasure and health are best relished 
by him who understands astrology and grammar ? 

lUiieraii vum minus nervirigeni f^ 

Is not th' illiterate fls fit 

For Venus' pastime, as the wit ?t 

And that shame and poverty are not so grievous to 
Iiim as others? 

Silicet et mfrrlisj et debilitate carebis, 

Et luctum et curam effugies, et tempora vit^e 

Longa tihi post luBcfato meliore dabuntur.X 

By this depend on't, that thou wilt remain 

Free from disease, infirmity, and pain, 

From care and sorrow, and thy life shall flow, 

Prolonged, with ev*ry h^piness below. 

there are In my time I have seen a hundred artificers, and 
norepcr. ^ huudrcd labouring men, wiser and more happy 

* Hor. Epod* lib, ode viiL ver. 17. 

t Very far from it, if we will believe Fontaine, that fiuthful and 
delicate copyist qf simple nature, who says, " Aujeud'amour le 
** muletier tait rage.'* 

^ Juv. sat zfar. Ter. 156, &c. 

&AIMOKD D£ S£BONP£. 119 

^an Afe heads of the' UBivtersity,' and whdm Iwould'^jJ"^^^*** 
much rather resemble* I think learning stands inamonfthe 
^the same rank, among the necessaries of life, *^|£n^|,n« 
glory, nobility, dignity, or at the most, as richesi tbeUanicd. 
and such other qualities as are; it is true, of service 
life, but remotely, and more by fency than by 
nature* We stand in very little need of more 
offices, rules, and laws for ufe, in our society, than 
are requisite for the cranes and emmets in theirs ( 
and yet we sie, that they behave very orderly, 
though without learning. If man were wise, he 
would value every thing, in proportion as it was 
useful and proper for life. Whoever will take a sur^ 
vey of us, according to our actions and behaviour, 
will find a greater number of excellent men among 
the ignorant than the learned ; I mean, excellent in 
virtue of all kinds. Old Rome seems, to me, to 
have had more worthy men, both for peace and war, 
than that learned Rome which ruined itself: though, 
for the rest, they should be both equal, yet inte- 
grity and innocence would &11 to the share of old 
Kome, for they best correspond with simplicity* 
But I leave this discourse, which would lead me 
fiuther than I am willing to follow ; and have only 
this to add, that it is not only humility and sub- 
mission that can make a complete good man : we 
must not leave it to every man to know his du^y ; 
it must be prescribed to him, and he must not be 
suffered to cnoose it by his understanding, otherwise 
we should, at last, forge to ourselves duties, accord* 
ing to the weakness and infinite diversity of our opi- 
nions, which would, as Epicurus says, put us upon 
eating one another. 

The first law that God gave to man was a law ofporeobe- 
pure obedience: it was a naked, simple command, 2|^^^^ 
wherein man had nothing to inquire after, pr dis^Qodt© 
pute about j forasmuch as obedience is the proper"*^ 
^uty of a rational soul, that acknowledges a hea- 
venly superior and benefiictor. From obedience and 
submission - every other virtue qprings, as every sin 

VOL. ij. I 


dMB from imagififttion. On the contrary, the very 

first temptation offered to human nature by the 

devil, his first poison, was infused into us by the 

promises he made to us of knowledge and wisdom. 

•* Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."* 

And the Syrens, in order to deceive Ulysses, in 

Homer, and to decoy him into their dangerous and 

destructive snare, offered him science for a pre* 


iftnoruiGe The plaguc of mankind is the opinion of wisdom, 

m^nMby ^^ch* is the rcasou that ignorance is so much re- 

ourreii. commeuded to us, by our religion, as proper to 

*'*"' faith and obedience : " Beware lest any man spoil 

** you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the 

" rudiments of the world.*'t 

Ptttmnp. xhe philosophers, of all sects, agree in this, that 

qraiicy the sovereign good consists in the tranquillity of the 

mabtiii""" *^^ *^^ body : but where do we find it ? 

Ad summumy sapiens uno minor est Jov€y divesj 
Liter J homratuSy puklierj rex denique regum : 
Frcecipue sanusj nisi cum pituita molesta est J 

In sliort, the wise man's only less than Jove, 
Rich, free, and handsome, nay, a king above 
All earthly kings, with health supremely blest. 
Except when tickling phlegm disturbs his rest 

It seenis to me', in truth, that nature has given us 
presumption only for the consolation of our 
wretched, forlorn state. It is, as Epictetus says, 
•* that man has nothing properly his own, but the 
*? use of his opinions." We have nothing but wind 
and smoke for our portion. The gods have health 
in essence, says philosophy, and sickness in intelli- 
gence; man, on the contrary, possesses his goods 
in fancy, and his ills in essence. We have had rea- 
son to extol the strength of our imagination, for all 
our happiness is only in dream. Hear the bravado 
of this poor calamitous animal. " There is nothing," 
says Cicero^ *^ so charming as the knowledge of 

* Gen. ill. S. f Coloss. ii. 8. J Hon lib. i.epist. 1, ver. 106, &c» 




** lltenetorc, of that branch of literature, I mean, 
f* which enables us to discover the infinity {£ 
" things, the immensity of nature, the heavens, the 
** earth, and the seas: this is that branch which 
^' has taught us religion, moderation, magnani- 
•* mity, and that has rescued our soul from obscu* 
rity, to make her see all things above and below, 
first and last, and between both ; it is this^ that 
** furnishes us wherewith to live well and happily, 
*^ and guides us to pass our lives without displea- 
" sure, and without onence/'* Would not one think 
he was' describing the condition of the ever-living 
and almighty God ? But, in feet, there are a thou- 
sand poor women, in the country villages, whose 
lives have been more regular, more agreeable and 
uniform than his : 

Deus illefuit Deust inclyte Memmi, 

Qui princeps vitce rationem invenit earn, qiUB 
Nunc appellatur satientia, fuique per artem . 
Fluciilms i tantis viiam tantisque tenebriSf 
In tam tranquiUd et iam clard bice locavii.f 

He, noble Memmius, was a god, no doubt. 
Who, prince of life, first found that reason out. 
Now wisdom caU'd ; and by his art, who did 
That life in tempests toss'd, and darkness hid. 
Place in so great a calm, and clear a light. 

These were fine pompous words ; but a very slight 
accident reduced the understimding of this mant to 
a worse state than that of the meanest shepherd, not> 
withstanding this his preceptor God and his divine 
wisdom. Of the same impudent stamp is that pre- 
fece to Democritus's book, " I am going to treat of 

« h 

* Cic Tusc Quicst. lib. i. cap. 36. f Lucret. lib. y. yen 8, &c. 

% This was Lucretius, who, m the yerses precedioR tiiis period, 
spades so pompously of Epicurus and his doctrine : for a love-po- 
tion, that was giyen him either by bis wife or his mistress, bo 
mudi disturbed bis reason, that the yiolence of his disorder only aj& 
forded him a few lucid intervals, which he employed in composiBg' 
bis book, and ^ last made him kill himself Eusebius's Chronicon. 



<^ all things."* And that foolish title, which Aritf- 
totle gives us, ^^ Of the mortal god8,"t and that 
0[nnion of Chrysippus, that Dion? was as virtuous 
as God. And my Seneca says, that God save him 
life, but that it was of himself to live well ; which 
is of a piece with that other as^rtion,S In virtutc 
wri gloriamurj auod nan contigeret^ si id danum i 
deOf nan i nobis kaberemus : *' We truly gloiy in our 
'* virtue, which would not be the case if it was 
** given us by God, and not of ourselves." This 
is also from Seneca,li that the wise man has fortitude 
equal with God, but attended with human frailty, 
wherein he surmounts him. There is nothing so 
common as to meet with passages of so much 
presumption. There is not one of us who would be 
8o much o&nded at being placed on a par with 
God, as to find himself undervalued by being 
levelled to the rank of the other animals; so 
much more jealous are we of our own interest than 
of that of our Creator. But we must trample this 
foolish vanity under foot, and boldly shake the ridi- 
culous foundations on which these false lypinions are 
founded* So long as man shall be of opinion that 
he has any means or power of his own, he will 
never acknowledge what he owes to his maker. 
" He will reckon his. chickens before they are 
^ hatched," as the saying is; we must therefore 
strip him to his shirt 

Let us now see some noble effects of the Stoic 
philosophy. Possidonius, being tormented with a 
disease so painful, that it made him twist his arm 

* '* Qui ita sit ausus ordiri bcec loquor de uniyersia i»3f3 excipit de 
** quo non profitetur : quid enim esse potest extra aniversa ?'' Cic. 
Aoad. Quaest. lib. ii. cap. ^. 

t A]^ud Cjceronedi de FiniT)Us Bdh. et Mai. lib. iL cap. IS. '' Cy- 
** renaici philosophi non viderunt, ut ad curaoai, equum ; ad arai^' 
** dumbovem; ad indagandum caHem ; sic hominem ad duas tes, 
** at ait Aristotelea. inteUigendum et agendum, es^e natum, quasi 
** mortaiem deum." 

t Plutarch, of the common conceptions of the Stoics, diap. SOU 

f Cic da Nat. Deor. lib. iii. cap. 36. I Epist. 59, sub finem. 


aad gnash his teeth, made a jest of the pain by cry- 
ing out against it, '^ Thou dost thy. worst to a fine 
•** purpose : for I will not confess thou art an evil."* p , 
He has the same sense of feeling as my footman, but 
he vapours, because he restrains his tongue at least 
within the laws of his sectt Re succumbere nan 
oportebat verbis gloriantem : ^^ As he talked so big, 
^* it did not become him to shrink/' Cameadert 
visiting Arcesilaus, whom he found ill of the gout, 
was going away very soriv to see him in that condi- 
tion, when Arcesilaus called him back, and pointing' 
both to his feet and his Inreast, said to him, ^^ There's 
*^ nothing that c^cts these, touches this/' This 
was said with a little better grace than the other, for 
he had a feeling of his distemper, and showed that 
he would be gl^ to be rid of it. But, however, he 
was heart-whole, and not cast down by it The 
other continued obstinate, but, I fear, rather in 
words tiian in res^ty. And Dion3rsius Heracleotes, 
being afflicted with a vehement pain in his eyes, 
was obliged to recede from his Stoical resolutions. $ 

But tnouj?h knowledge should have the effect, as The effccu 
they say, of blunting the point or abating the seve- ^J5?pr©- 
rity of the misfortunes which attend us, what does fembie to 
it that ignorance cannot perform in a more simple ^^f 
and clear manner ? Pyrrho the philosopher, when inWdse. 
danger of being shipwrecked in a great storm at sea, 
proposed no other example for the imitation of those 
that were with him, but a hog that was on board, 
which discovered no fear at all in the storm. Phi- 
losophy, when it has said all it can, refers us to the 
examples of a wrestler and a muleteer, in which 
class of persons we commonly observe much less ap- 

* Cic. Tuaa Qimt. lib. xi. oqp. 2S, f Id. cap. IS. 

% Cicero informs us, thdt CarneaJes was very intiiuaie wita Epi- 
curus; and, by consequeocey this cannot be he who founded tne 
New Academy ; for Epicurus was dead about sixty years before 
Carneadesy the founder of the New Academy, was bom. Cicero 
de Finibus Bon. et Mai. lib. V. cap. SI. 

^ Id. ibid. Cicero says elsewhere, that this philosopher, having a 
disorder in his kidneys, exclaimed aloud, that the notion which he 
had before conceived of pain was false. 


prehension of death, pains, and other ineonvesneii 
and more constancy than ever knowledge furnished 
any person with, who was not born and prepared to 
suffer tbera of himself, by natural habit. Whence 
proceeds it that we make incisions, and cut the ten- 
der limbs of an infant, and those of a horse, with 
less resistance than those of our own, but from ig^ 
norance ? How many persons have been made sick 
,by the mere force of imagination ? We commonly^ 
see persons that bleed, purge, and take physic to 
cure themselves of diseases, which only anect them 
in (pinion. When we are in want of real infirmities, 
Jcnowledge supplies us from its store. That colour, 
ihat complexion, portend some defluxion or catarrh: 
this hot season threatens us with a fever. That 
crossing of the line of life, in the palm of your 
left-hand, warns you of some remarkable indi^N)- 
^ition approaching : in short it makes a direct attack 
upon life itself*; that sprightliness and juvenile 
yigour cannot last long : there must be some blood 
taken away, and you must be brought low, lest 
such a florid state of health turn to your prejudice. 
, Compare the life of a man who is a slave to such 
imaginations to that of the labouring man, who i& 
governed by his natural appetite, measuring things 
only as they appear to him at the present, without 
knowledge and without prognostication ; who feels 
no pain or sickness but when he is really tormented 
or diseased ; whereas the other has often the stone 
in his mind before he has it in his kidneys : as if it 
were not time enough to suffer the evil when it 
comes, he anticipates it in fancy and runs to meet 
A man's What I Say of medicine may be generally exem^ 
r^'^jemTnt pli^^d in all other sciences. From thence is de- 
of ihe rived that ancient opinion of the philosophers, wha 
^f hlijS^- placed the sovereign good in knowing the weakness 
intnt the of our judgmcut. My ignorance affords me as much 
goo*ti7IS room for hope as fear, and having no other regimen 
Milili'^hu^ for my healtn, but the examples of others, and of 
phT«!* ' *^ events which I see elsewhere on the like occasibns,^ 

RAllfOMl> Dm -SEBONDE. U 9 

I find some c^ all sorts, and rely upon those which 
are by the comparison most favourable to me. I 
receive health with open arms, free, fiill, and entire) 
.and enjoy it with a keener appetite, as it more sel* 
dom accompanies me now than formerly ; so far am 
I from disturbing its repose and sweet relish by the 
bitterness of a new and constrained form of life. 

The beasts show .us plainly how much our diseases oiitempei^ 
are owing to the perturbation of our minds. What J^\^^^ 
we are told of the people in Brasil, that they die mind 
jftercly of old age, and that this is attributed totheJ^^^J,^ 
aerenity and tranqufllity of the air they live in; .Itieii«f«ttr 
ascribe it rather to the serenity and tranquillity of"*"**' 
their souls, free from all passion, thought, or employf 
ment, that is laborious or unpleasant ; as people tlut 
pass their lives in an admirable simplicity and ignor 
ranee, without learning, without law, without king^ 
or any manner of religion. And whence comes that 
which we know by experience, that the most stupid 
and unpolished boors are the strongest and the most 
desirable for amorous exploits, and that a muleteer is 
often better Uked than a gentleman ; if it be not that 
the agitation of the soul in the latter disturbs, 
breaks, and wearies his bodily strength, as it also 
generally tires and teases itself? What is it puts the 
soul besides itself> what more usually throws it into 
Biadness, but its own promptness, penetration, and 
activity, and, in short, its own power ? From what 
ib' the most subtle folly derived but from the most 
subtle wisdom ? As great enmities spring from great 
friendshipiS, and mortal distempers from vigoroua. 
health ; so do the most surprismg and the wildest 
frenzies from the rare and lively agitations of our 
souls ; aqd there is but a hairVbreadth between 
them.* In the actions of madmen, we perceive how 
exactly their folly tallies with tlie most vigorous ope- 
rations of our souls. Who does not know how indis« 
cernable the difference is between folly with the gay - 

* Great wits tonnadnessy sure, are near allied. 
And thin partitions do their bounds divide. Dxyden« 


elevations of a mind that is uncontrolled, and the e^ 
fects of a supreme and extraordinary virtue ? PlatD 
says, that melancholy people are the most capable 
of discipline, and the most exceUent : nor indeed 
have any of them so great a propensity to madness. 
OMofthe Great wits are ruined by their own own strengtJi 
SSt*o"thl!" a^d vivacity. One of the most judicious and in- 
iiaiian genious Itdian poets,* and who possessed more of 
K!!rthe*m the true genius of the ancients tnan any other Ita- 
of his rea- jjaii for a k>ng time ; how is he Allen from that ple»» 
tble'ifa^fvire sant lively humour that his fimcy was adorned with. 
^4c»Mu Is he not to thank this vivacity of his for his de- 
struction i Is it not that light of his which has blind- 
ed him ? Is it not that exact and extended appre- 
hension of reason that has put him besides his rea- 
son ? Is it not his curious and laborious scrutiny into 
the sciences that has reduced him to stupidity i Is 
it not his uncommon aptitude to the exercises of the 
soul that has deprived nim both of the exercise and 
the soul ? I was even more piqued than sorry to see 
him at !Ferrara in so pitiful a condition, out-Kving 
himself, forgetting botn himself and his works, which, 
without his knowledge, though before his face, have 
been published incorrect and deformed. 
•emibiiity Would you have a man healthv ? would you have 
dut «ro '" ^^^ regular and stable ? muffle him up in the dark* 
«cc4iinpa. ness of sloth and dulness. We must be made beasts 
200*1^/''^" order to be made wise, and hood-winked for the 
iicAith. gake of being led. And if any one shall tell me that 
the advantage of having a cold appetite bhinted to 
a sense of pain and misfortunes draws this inconve- 
nience afler it, that it also renders us by conse- 
quence not so acute and delicate in the enjoyment 
of happiness and pleasure ; this is very true ; but 

* The famous Torquato Tosso, author of the poem entitled Jen^ 
salem Delivered. I cannot imagine how the transtitor of Mon- 
taigne's Essavs came to put Ariosto in his place. Mont ligne tolls us, 
that he saw this famous poet at Ferrara, which he could not have 
sa'd of Ariosto, who, being bom in H?*, was 59 years oM wh^Vk 
Montaigne came into the world. 


such is the wretchedness of oar condition, that we 
have not so much to enjoy as' to avoid, and that ex^ 
treme pleasure does not afiect us so much as a light 
grief. Segnius homines b&na quam mala ientiuni :* 
^^ We are not so sensible of perfbci: health as of the 
^^ least sickness/' 


In cute vix snmmi t^iolatum plagula corpus^ 
Q'iando vulere nihil quern juam' rnouet. Hocjuvat toncm, 
U^tod me non torquei lotus out pes ; c^eiera quisquam 
Fix qveataui sanum sese autsentire valenlem^f 

The body with a little sting is griev'd, 
When the most perfect health is not perceiv'd* 
Thb only pleases me that spleen nor gout 
Either torment my side or wring my foot ; 
Excepting these, scarce any one call tell, 
Or e*er observes, when he s in health and well. 

Our well-being is nothing but the privation of evil. 
And, for this reason, that sect of philosophy which 
has most cried up pleasure has also reduced, it to 
mere indolence. To be free from^ill is the greatest X 
good thaj; man can hope for ; accor£ng to Ennius, ^ 

For that very titillation and pricking which we find 
in certain pleasures, and that seem to raise us above 
a mere state of health and insensibility; that active, 
moving, or what shall I call it, itching, smarting :>^ 
pleasure, even that only aims at Jnsensibility as its \. 
mark. The appetite which carries'^us away like a 
torrent to the embraces of women, is merely to cure \ . 
the pain we suffer by that hot furious passion, and 
only demands to be assuaged and composed by an 
exemption from this fever. And so of the rest. I 
say, therefore, that as simplicity puts us in the way 
to be free from evil, so it leads us to a very happy 
state according to our nature. 

* Titus Livius, lib. xxx. cap. 21. 

f Steph. Boetii Poemata, p. 115, l]n.xi — ^xii. &c 

I EnniuB apod Cic de Fulubiia Bon. et MaL lib. xi. cap*. IS. 


Perfect in. Aiid yet we are not to imagine a state so stupid as 
seMJbiii.y to be altogether without sensation. For Grantor was 
Si bie nor"*' much iu thc right to controvert the insensibility of 
dttirabie. EpicuHis, if it was SO deeply founded, that the very 
approach and 'Bource of evils were not to be per- 
ceived. " I do not approve," says he, " of that 
" boasted insensibility which is neither possible nor 
" desirable. I do not wish to be sick ; but, if I am, 
" I should be willing to know that I am ; and whe- 
** ther caustics or incisions be made use of, I would 
" feel them*"* In truth, whoever would eradicate 
the knowledge of evil, would in the same proportion 
extirpate the knowledge of plieasure, and, in fact, 
annihilate man himself. Istud nihil dolere, non sine 
magna mercede contingit immanitatis in animoj stu^ 
ports in corpore :t " This insensibility is not to be ac- 
" quired without making the mind become cruel, 
** and the body stupid." Good and evil happen to 
man in their turn. Neither has he trouble always to 
avoid, nor pleasure always to pursue. 
Know- I^^s a verv great advantage to the honour of igno- 
i«i|:ere- rancc, that knowledge itself throws us into its arms, 
i^raiice when it finds itself puzzled to support us under the 
J^^J.^^^^"^ weight of evils ; for it is then constrained to come 
ii«'rirto/to this composition to give us the reins, and permit 
fortune, yg ^^ fly Jj^^q ^j^g \^^ of the Other, and to shelter our- 
selves by her favour from the strokes and injuries of 
fortune. For what else does knowledge mean, when 
it instructs us to take off our thoughts from the ills 
that press upon us, and to ehtertam them with the 
recollection of past pleasures. And to comfort our- 
selves under present ^afflictions with the remembrance 
of former happiness, and to call to our assistance sa- 
tisfaction that is vanished to oppose it to that which 
presses us. Levationes crgritudinum in avocatione ^ 
cogttandu moltstid^ et revocaiione ad contemplandas 
voluptates ponii.X If it be not that where its strength 

* Cic Tusc. Quaest-lib. iiL cap. 6. f Idem, ibidU 

% Idem, ibid. cap. 15. 


Juls, it ehooses to baVe recourse to poUcy, and to 
make use of a light p^ir of heels where the vigour of 
the body and arms is deficient? For not only to a 
philosopher, but to. any sedate man, who has the 
thirst attendii^ a biirniiig fever upon him, what sar. 
tisfaetion h it t^ remembeir that he had the Measure of 
drinking Greek wine ? It would be rather making a 
bad bargain wprse : 

Che rk^rdam il ben doppia la noia* 

Whoki rememfaera, all his gaim 
Are that be doubles Us own pains. 

Of the same stams) is this other counsel which ^p^jajp- 
philosophy gives, oniy to remember the good for^LmJ'kud 
tune* past, and to forget the mortifications we have "^J p^^'JJJ; 
suffered; as if we had the science o£ oblivion in our^et^oar ^* 
powen A piece of advice this, for which we are iiotgJJJ 
a straw the b^ter. 

Suavis est lahorwn prceferitorum mtmoria.\ 
The recoUection of past toils is sweet. 

How ? Is philosq[Ay, that should put weapons into 
my hands to contend with fortune, and that should 
steel my courage to trample all human adverisities 
under K>ot, become such ^ rank coward as to make 
me hide my head by such dastardly and ridiculous 
shifts? For the memory represents to us what it 
pleases, not what we choose : nay, there is nothing 
that so strongly imprints any thing in our remem- 
brance as the desire to forget it And to solicit the 
soul to lose any thing is a good way to make it r<^ 
tain it by rendering the impression of it the deeper. 
This is a false position. Est si turn in nobis ut et 
adversa quasi perpetua oblivione obruamus^ ct secunda 
jucundh et suaviter meminerimus.t " And it is in 
** our power to bury all adversity as it were in obli* 
^* vion, and to call our prosperity to mind with 

* Cic. Tusc. Ousest. lib. iii. cap. 16. 

f EuriptdL apud Cic. (te Finibas Bob. et Mai. lib. iL cap. 32. 

% Ibid. lib. i. cap. 17. 


" pleasure and delight." And this is true. Me* 
mini etiam qua nolo : oblivisci non possum qua volo.^ 
^^ I <io also remember what I would not, but I can- 
** not forget what I would." And whose counsel is 
this ? Hie qui se unus sapientem projiteri sit ausus. 
*' Who only durst profess nimself a wise man^" viz. 
Epicurus : 

Qui genus humanum ingenio superaviif et ornnss 
Prcestrinxit Stellas, exorsvs uti €Bthereus 5o/.t 

Who firom mankind the prize of knowledge won^ 
And put the stars out, like the rising sun. 

To have the memcny empty and unfurnished, is it 
not the true and proper way to ignorance ? 

Iners malorum remedium ignordniia est.X 
Ignorance is but a weak remedy for misfortunes. 

We find several such precepts, by which we are al« 
lowed to borrow frivolous appearances from the 
vulgar, where strong and vigorous reason is of no 
avail, provided they give us comfort and content- 
ment. Where they cannot heal the wound, they arc 
content to palliate and benumb it. I believe they 
will not deny me this, that, if they could settle order 
and constancy in a state of life, that could maintain 
itself in pleasure and tranquillity by some defect and 
disorder of judgment, they would approve of it, and 
say with Horace : 

Potare et spargereftores 

Indptam^ paiiarquevel inconstdtus hoveri,^ 

Witli garlands crown'd I'll take my hearty glass^ 
Though for my frolic I be deem'd an ass. 

There would be a great many philosophers of Lycas's 
mind, who being in all other respects a man or very 
TOod morals, living in peace and happiness in his 
fiimily, deficient in no obligation, either to his rela^ 

* Eurtpid. apud Cic. de Finibus Bon, et Mai. lib. ii. cap. 3£. 
t Lucret. lib. iii. ver. 1056. J Senec. CEdip. acUiii. ver. ?• 
§ Hor. lib. h epist. v. ver. H, 46. 


tions or strangers, and verf carefid to guard himself 
flrom any thing that might hurt him, was, neverthe- 
less, by some disorder in his brain, strangely pos- 
sessed with a conceit, that he was perpetually at the 
theatre a spectator of the sports, pastimes, and the 
best of comedies ; and, bemg cured of his frenzy 
by the physicians, he had a great mind to have en- 
tered an action against them, to compel them to 
restore him to his pleasing imaginations : 

Pol me occidistis, amici, 

Non servastis ait, cut sic extorta voltiptas, 
Et demptus per vim mentis gratissifntis error, ^ 

By heav'n you've kilPd me now, my friends, outright. 
And not preserv'd me, since my dear delight 
And pleasing error, by my better sense 
Unhappily return'd, is banish*d hence. 

A madness of this sort possessed Thrasilaus, the son 
of Polydorus,t who, conceiting that all the vessels 
that sailed from or arrived at the port of Pyraum, 
traded only for his profit, congratulated himself on 
their happy voyages, and received them with the 
greatest joy. His brother Crito having caused him 
to be restored to his better understanding, he re- 

f retted the loss of that sort of condition, in which 
e had liveid with so much glee and freedom from 
anxiety. It is according to the old Greek verse, 
that there is a great deal of convenience in not 
being too wise : 

'Ev ru f f oirfur yaif fi^^fiy litifo^ p/od 

And the preacher, " In much wisdom is much grief; \ . . 
•* and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth v, 
" sorrow."§ 

Another proof of the weakness of philosophy, isADothcr 
that last receipt, to which philosophy in general p~J^ 

♦ Hor. lib. iL epist 2, ver. 1 38, &c. 

IThis entire passage is taken from Athensus, lib. xii. near the 
It is also in i£han's Var. Hist. iv. cap. 25, where he is called 
i &>phocle8 in Aj.ce M«fiy«^««9 ver. SSU § Ecdesiast. L 13. 

126 . AK A90L0GY MH 

weakneM ^sMDis, aod wfaich it prescribes in all eases c£nete^ 

iy^M^^*^^ viz. Tlic potting an end to the life which we 

in^PDrrai cannot support. Placet? Pare: non placet? 

JarJiBiJ ^^quacumque vis esiJ^ Pungit dolor? veifodiat sane; 

witutbAt si nudus esj dajugutum: sin tectus armis Vulcaniis^ 

ll'^^Mot id esty fortitudinty resiste. " Does it please ? Be obe- 

^^' ** dient : Does it not please ? Go out of it which 

*' way thou wilt. Does grief prick thee, or even 

** pierce thy heart ? If thou art naked, jdeld thy 

** throat ; but, if thou art covered with the arms of 

" Vulcan, that is, fortitudcj resist." And this 

phrase, so much in use at the Greek fesdvds, Aut 

" bibaty aut abeat:\ "Let him drink or depart ;" 

"which sounds not so well in the Ciceronian as in 

the Gascoont language, wherein the B is changed 

into a V. 

Fivere si recte nesciSf decede peritis. 
Lusisti satiSy edisH satis atque bibisti: 
Tempiis abire t'dii^ ne potvm largius a^no 
Rideatf et pulset laseiva decenttus letas.^ 

If to live properly thou dost not know. 

Give peace, and leave thy room to those that do. 

ITiou St eat, and drank, and play'd, to thy content : 

Tis time to make thy parting compliment. 

Lest youth whose follies more become their age. 

Laugh thee to scorn, and push thee off the stage. 

What is this || but a confession of its inability, and a 

* These first words seem to be an imitation of Seneca's £p. 70. 
As to the remaining words, ^* Pungit dolor,'' &c» it is from Cicero'a 
Tu8c. Quffist. lib. ii. cap. 14. 

t It is an application from Cicero, whose words are these: 
** Mihi quidem m vita servanda videtur iUa lex quae in Gnecorum 
«* conviviis obtinetur," Sec. Cic. Tus. Quiest. lib. v. cap. 41.' 

X This remark upon the Gascoon pronunciation, which chooses 
to alter B into V, is only to be appliea to the word bibat^ otherwise 
it would not be very properly intended here : because, if the B in 
the word abeat was changed mto V, it would mar the construction 
which Montaigne would put, according to Cicero, upon this phrase, 
«« Aut bibat aut abeat." 

§ Hor. lib. ii. epist. ii. ver. 21 S, &c. 

II As this is a long period, and as the relation which this passage 
stands in to that which goes before it, is very remote,- it is here in- 
serted in the last edition, ** Wliat is this," I say, ** but the consent 


recourse not only to ignorance for a shelter, but even 
to stupidity, insensibility, and a non-entity : ^ 

Democritum posiquam matura vetustas 

Admonuit ntemorem^ motus languescere mentis; 

Sponta sua letht^ captd obvius ubiuHi ipse*^ 

DetnocritQS, pcrceivhrtf a^ intide, 

Hk body weaken'd and Ins mind decaV'd, 

Obev'd the sammoDs^ wkb a cheerful face, 

Made hatte to welcome death, and met him half the raoe* 

It is what Antisthenes said,t ^^ That a man must 
^ either be provided with sense to understand, or 
** with a halter to hang himself/' And what Chry^ 
sippus alleged to this purpose from the poet 
Tyrtsus, viz. 

De la vertu ou de mart approcher. 
Or to arrive at valour or at death. 

r And Crates said,1: that love was to be cured by 
\ hunger, if not by time ; or if neither of iJiese reme- 
/ dies pleased, by a halter. That Sextius, of whom 
both Seneca and Plutarch§ speak with so high an en« 
eomium, having applied himself solely to the study 
of philosophy, and finding the progress of his stu« 
dies too slaw and tedious, resolved to throw himself 
into the sea. He ran to. meet death, since he could 
not overtake knowledge. The words of the law 
upon this subject are these : " If, peradventure, 
" some great inconvenience happen, for which there 
** is no remedy, the haven is near, and a man may 
•* save himself by swimming out of the body as 
** out of a leaky skiff j for it is the fear of death, and 

^ if not confession of pkilosophy," &c. But this is incorporating the 
commentary in the text ; a dangerous method, which hB& been used 
by many critics in books of much more importance than Montaigne's 

• Lucret.]ib. iii. ver. 1052, &c. 

f Plutarch intheContradictionsof the Stoic Philosophers, cap. 24. 

X Diog. Laert. in the Life of Crates, lib. vi. sect. 86. 

§ Plutarch in his tract, How an amendment may be perceived in 
the exercise of virtue, chap. 5. 


*' not fhe desire of life, that makes the &hA so lotli 
" to part from the body.** 
TheadTaiw As life is rendered more pleasant by simplicity, it 
^u/*and ^Iso becomes more innocent and better, as 1 was just 
icQoimooe. now Saying* The simple and the ignorant, says St* 
Paul, raise themselves up to heaven, and take pos- 
session of it ; and we with all our knowledge plunge 
ourselves into the infernal abyss. I am neither sway- 
ed by Valentinian, the declared enemy of all science 
and learning, or by Licinius, both Koman emper- 
ors, who called them the poison and pest of every 
Eolitical state; nor by Mahomet, who (as I have 
card interdicted learning to his followers : but the 
example and authority of the great Lycurgus ought 
surely to have great weight, as well as the reve- 
rence due to that divine Lacedsemonian policy so 
great, so admirable, and so long flourishing in virtue 
and happiness, without any institution or exercise 
of letters. 
Thoy live Such as havc been in the new world, which was 
iToHd"*'^ discovered by the Spaniards in the time of our an- 
withont cestors, can testify to us, how much more honestly 
nMfftiitratei ^^^^ rcgularlv thosc nations Live without magistrates 
more rf|^- and without law, than ours do, where there are more 
wcdo!*^ officers, and more laws, than there are of other sorts 
, of men and occupations: 

Di ciUaioria piene e di Ubetti, 
D'esamina e di carte, di ptvcvre 
Hanno le mani e il seno^ eeran/asteVi 
Di chase, di consiglij e di kiture, 
Per cut tefaadtd de poverelU 
Non son^ mai ne le cittd sicure, 
Hanno dietro e dinanzi e d* ambi i laii^ 
* Notai, prociiratorif e advocati,* 

Their bags were full of writs, and of citations. 

Of process, and of actions and arrests. 
Of bills, of answers, and of replications, 

In courts of delegates, and of requests, 

« The Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, cant xiv. stanz. 84. 


To grieve the simple sort with great vexations i 
They had resorting to them as their guests, 
Attending on their circuit, and their journeys, 
Scriv'ners, and clerks, and lawyers, and attorneys. 

A Roman senator of the latter ages said, that their 
aincestors' breath stunk of gariic, but their stomachs 
were perfumed with a good conscience : and that, 
on the contrary, those of his time were all fragant 
without, but stunk within of all sorts of vices: that is 
to say, as I take it, they abounded with learning, &c. 
but were very deficient of moral honesty. Incivili- 
ty, ignorance, simplicity, and roughneis, are the na- 
tural companions of innocence. Curiosity, cunnings 
and science, bring malice in their train. Humility, 
fear, obedience, and affability (which are the chief 
props of human society) require no capacity, pro- 
vided the mind is docile and free from presumption. 

Christians have a particular reason to know what Fatal ef- 
a natural and original evil curiosity is in man. The^^'f^'^cp- 
thirst of increasing in wisdom and knowledge wasprid^f ''^ 
the first ruin of man, and the means by which he 
rushed headlong into eternal damnation* Pride was 
his destruction. It is pride that throws man out of 
the common track, that makes him embrace novels 
ties, and rather choose to be the head of a troop 
wandering into the road to perdition, and rather the 
regent and preceptor of error and lies, than to be a 
disciple in t^e school of truth, and to suffer another 
to lead and guide him in the right and beaten track. 
This perhaps is the meaning of that old Greek say* 

mg, 'H in(nSocifAOvi» XA^MTTif iraTfi tw tu^j* Trt/fliTai. 

*' That superstition follows pride, and obeys it as if 
" it was its parent.*' Ah presumption ! how much 
dost thou hinder us ! 

When Socrates was informed that the God ofnowSo. 
wisdom had attributed to him the title of a sage, hej;"h^^"52 
was astonished at it, and carefiilly examining himself, appeiiati- 
could not find any foundation for this divine sentence. ^" *^ ^^^ 
He knew others as just, temperate. Valiant, and 
learned as himself^ and some that were more elo^ 



quent, more graceful, and more useful to their 
countrymen than he was. At last he concluded 
that he was distinguished from others, and pro- 
nounced' to be a wise man, only because he did not 
/ think himself so ; and that his god considered the 
opinion of knowledge and wisdom, as a stupidity in 
man ; that his best doctrine was the doctrine of igno- 
rance, and simplicity his best wisdom.* The sacred 
writ declares those of us miserable, who set a value 
upon themselves. " Dust and ashes,** says he, " to 
" such, what hast thou to pride thyself in ?** And 
elsewhere, that " God has made man like to a 
" shadow," of which who can judge, when it is va- 
nished by the disappearance of the light ? This con- 
cerns none but us. 
Toocuri- We are so far from being able to comprehend the 
quiry°into diviuc pcrfcctions, that, of the works of the Creator, 
th^ divine those best bear the mark, and are more strictly his, 
bfcMi-**'° which we the least understand. To meet with a 
dtmncd. thing which is incredible, is An occasion to Chris- 
tians to believe ; and the more it is opposite to 
human reason, the more reasonable is such faith. If 
it were according to reason, it would be no longer a 
miracle; and if there was a precedent for it, it 
would be no longer a singularity. St. Augustine, 
says. Melius scitur Deus nesciendo. *' God is better 
" known by submitting not to know him.** And 
says, Tacitus,t Sanctius est et revereiitit^s de actis 
dcorum credere qudm scire* " It is more holy and 
" reverent to believe the works of God, than to 
" know them.** And Platot thinks it is somewhat 
impious to inquire too curiously into God, the world, 
and the first causes of things, Atqtie ilium quidem 
parentem hujus universitatis inveuire difficile^ atj 
quum jam inveneris indicare i?i vulgus^ mfas (says 
; . Cicero §): " It is a hard matter to find oiit the parent 

* Plato's Apolq^- for Socrates, p. 360, 361. 

•j" De Moribiis German, cap. 31'. 

X Ciceronis Timffius, or De* Universe Fragmentum, cap. 2. 

j De Natura Deoruin, lib. iii. cap. 15, without naming him. 


•* of the universe ; and, when found out, it is not 
** lawful to reveal him 16 the vulgar/' 

We pronounce indeed power, truth, justice, which whatowr 
are words that denote something great, but that very "he div'iw 
thing we neither see nor conceive at all. We say ^^'"5 
that God fears, that God is angry, that God ^°''""' *"' 
loves : 

IntTnorialia morlali sermone notanies, * 
Giving to things immortal, mortal names. 

Tliese are all agitations and emotions that cannot 
be in God, according to our form; nor can we 
imagine them according t<^his. It only belongs to 
God to know himself, and to interpret his own 
works ; and he di)es it in our language improperly 
to stoop ^nd descend to us, who grovel upon the 
earth. How can prudence,! which is the choice be- 
tween good and evil, be properly attributed to him, 
whom no evil can touch ? How can the reason and 
understanding which we make use of to arrive at 
things apparent by those that are obscure, since 
there is nothing obscure to God? And justice, 
which distributes to every man what appertains to 
him, a principle created for the society and inter- 
course of men, how is that in God ? How temper- 
ance, which is the moderation of corporeal plea- 
sures, that have no place in the divinity ? Fortitude 
to support pain, labour, and danger as little apper- 
tains to him as the rest, these three things having 
no access to him : for which reason, Aristotle t thinks 
him equally exempt from virtue and vice. He is not 
capable either of affection or indignation, because 
they are both the effects of frailty : Neque gratiA 
neque ird teneri potest^ qudd qucd talia essent imbe- 
cilia essent omnia. 
The share we have in the knowledge of truth, 

^ ♦Lucr^t. lib. V. ver. 122. 

f Montaigne has here transcribed, a long passage from Cicero, 
De Natura Deorum, lib. iii. cap. 15. 

\ Cic. de Natura Deoram, lib. i. cap. 17* 



From whatever it be, is not acquired by our own strefigtb. 
romeioor ^^^ ^^ "wh^t God Iias plainly given us to understand 
know- by the witnesses he has chosen out of the common 
umSl**' people, simple and ignorant men, to inform us of 
nis wonderful secrets. Our faith is not of our own 
acquiring, but purely the gift of another's bounty, 
it is not by reasoning, or by virtue of our under- 
standing, tnat we have acquired our religion, but by 
foreign authority and command ; and the weakness 
of our judgment is of more assistance to us in it, 
than the strength of it; and our blindness more 
than the clearness of our sight. It is more owing to 
our ignorance, than to our knowledge, that we know 
any thing of divine wisdom. It is no wonder if our 
natural and terrestrial faculties cannot conceive this< 
supernatural and celestial knowledge. We can only 
bring, on our pai-t, obedience and submission : 
" For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the 
** wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding 
** of the prudent. Where is the wise ? Where is the 
*' scribe ? Where is the disputer of this world ? 
•* Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this 
** world ? For, after that, in the wisdom of God, 
^* the world knew not God, it pleased God by the 
^^ foolishness of preaching to save them that 
« believe."* 
Whether it Finally, were I to examine, whether it be in the 
powers ' p^wer of man to find out that which he seeks, and 
find out if that search, wherein he has busied himself so 
^'^^' many ages, has enriched him with any new ability, 
and any solid truth, I believe he will confess to me, 
if he speaks from his conscience, that all he has got 
by so long a disquisition, is only to have learned to 
to know his own weakness. We have only by long 
study confirmed and verified the ignorance we were 
in by nature. The same has happened to men who 
are truly wise, which befalls ears of corn : they shoot 
up and raise their heads straight and lofty, whilst 

* I Cor. i. 19, &c. 


they are empty ; but, when they are full, and 
swelled with grain in maturity, begin to flag and 
droop. So men, having tried and sounded all things, 
and not having found, in that mass of knowledge 
and provision of such variety, any thing solid and 
firm, nor any thing but vanity, have quitted their 
presumption, and acknowledged their state by na-> 
ture. It is what Velleius reproaches Cotta and 
Cicero* with, that they had^ learned from Philot 
that they had learned nothing. Pherecides, one of 
the seven wise men, writing on his death-bed to 
Thales, 8aid,t " I have ordered my people after 
" my interment to carry my writings to thee. If 
" they please thee, and the other sages, publish ; if 
** not, suppress them. They contain no certainty 
** with which I myself am satisfied ; neither do I 
*' pretend to know the truth, or to attain to it : I 
" rather open than discover things.** The wisest 
man§ that ever was, being asked what he knew, 
made answer, that he knew this, that he knew 
nothing. 5y this he verified tlie assertion, that the 
greatest part of what we know, is the least of what 
we do not know ; that is to say, that even that which 
we think we know is but a portion, and a very small 
portion, of our ignorance. We know things in 
dreams, says Plato, and are ignorant of them, in 
reality. Omnes pene veteres nihil cognosciy nihil per^ 
dpi J nihil sciri posse dixerunt : angustos sensuSj imbe- 
cilles animosy brevia curricula vitae.W " Almost all the 
*^ ancients have declared, that tliere is nothing to be 
" known, nothing to be perceived nor understood ; 
** that the senses are too limited, minds too weak, and 
" the time of life too sihort,** And qf Cicero him- 

^ Cicero de Natura Deorum, lib. it cap. 17. 

f Cicero was one that attended the lectures of this Fhilo, who 
was an academic philosopher. 

X Diog. Laert. lib. i. at the end of the Life of the Pherecides, 
jsect, 122. 

§ Socrates, Cic Acad. Quaest. lib. i. cap- 4« 

y Cic. Acad. Qua^t, lib. L cap. 12. 


' g^lf^ whoSe merit was all owing to his learning, Vat<^ 
lerius says, that in his old age he began to despise^ 
letters, and that, when he applied to study, it was 
without dependance upon any one sect, foUowing^ 
what he thought probable, now in one sect, then in 
another, evermore wavering under the doubts of the 
Academy. Dicendum est, sed ita ut nihil q^rmem ; 
guetram omnia^ dubitam plerumque^ et mihi diffidtm.^ 
" Something I must say (as he told his brother), bufe 
" without affirming any ihing ; I inquire -into all 
" things, but am generally doubting and diffident of 
" myself." I should have too much of the best of 
the argument, were I to consider man in his com- 
mon way of living, and in the gross ; and yet I 
might do it by his own rule, who judges of truth,^ 
not by the weight, but by the number of votes. 
There we will leave the vulgar, 

t Qiti vigilans stertitf 

Mortua cui vita est propcjam vivo atque videnti,% 

Half of his life by lazy sleep's posse^t. 

And when awake, hb soul but nods at best : 

who neither feel nor judge, themselves, and let 

most of their natural faculties lie idle. 

Of the I will take man in his sublimest state. Let us 

kfdgMo view him in that smaH number of excellent and 

vhich the sclcct men, who, having been endowed with a cu- 

Slutef'^^rious and particular natural talent, have moreover 

muTcd^b ^^^'^l^"^d and whetted it by care, study, and art, 

•?adyand and raised it to the highest pitch of wisdom to which 

*'*• it can possibly arrive. They have adjusted their 

souls to all senses and all biases, have propped and 

supported them with all the foreign assistance proper 

for them, and enriched and adorned them with all 

that they could borro\y for their advantage, both 

from within and M'ithout. Tliose are they in whom 

* Cic. de Div. lib. ii. cap. S. 
f Lucret. lib. iii. w6t. 1061, ibkl. vcr. 1059. 
% Montaigne has transposed these two verges of Lucretius to 
l^apt them the more nicely to his subject^ 


resides human nature, to the utmost degree of per- 
fection. They have regulated the world with polity, 
and laws. They have instructed it in the arts and 
sciences, and also by the exan^ple of their admirable 
manners. I shall bring to my account those men 
only, their testimony and experience. Let us see 
how far they have proceeded, and on what they de- 
pended. The maladies and defects, that we shall 
find amongst these men, the world may boldly 
declare to be purely their own. • 

'^ Whoever enters upon the search of any thing, ah phiio. 
comes at last to thi§ point:* he either says, that he'^J^dhlto 
has found it, or that it is not to be found, or that thrcckinda. 
he is still in quest of it. The whole of philosophy is 
divided into these three kinds. Its design is to seek 
out truth, knowledge, and certainty. The Peripa- 
tetics, Epicursens, Stoics, and others have thought 
they have found it. These established the sciences 
which we have, and have treated of them as of cer- 
tainties. Clitomachus, Carneades, and the Aca- 
demics despaired in their search, and were of opi- 
nion, that truth could not be conceived by our un- 
derstandings. These place all to the account of hu- 
man frailty and ignorance. , This sect has had the 
most numerous and the most noble followers. 

Pyrrho, and other sceptics or doubters, whose what was 
doctrines were held by many of the ancients, asgio^nofthc*' 
deduced from Homer, the seven wise men, Archi- Pyrho- 
lochus, Euripides, Zeno, Democritus, and Xeno- 
phon, say, that they are still in the search of truth. 
These judge that they, who think they have, 
are vastly deceived ; and that it is also too daring a 
vanity in the second sort to affirm, that it is not in 

* In this very style, does Scxtus Empirlcus, the famous Pyrrho- 
nian, from w]iom Montaigne has taken many things, begin his trea- 
tise of the Pyrrhonian hypothesis; and infers, as Montaigne does^ 
that there are three general methods of philosophising, the ens dog- 
matic, the other academic, and the other sceptic. Some affirm they 
have found the truth, others declare it to be above our comprehen? 
sion, and others are still in quest of it. ' * ' 


the power of man to attain to it. For this establish^ 
ing the measure of our strength, to know and judge 
of the difficulty of things, is a great and extreme 
degree of knowledge, of which they doubt whether 
man is capable : 

2Vif/ sciri quisjuis putat^ id(]uoaue nescit, 
An sciri possU quo se nil scire jaietur.* 

He that says nothmg can be known, o'erthrows 
His own opinion/toF he nothing knows. 
So knows not that. 


The Ignorance that knows itself, that judges and 
condemns itself, is not total ignorance, which to be, 
it must be ignorant of itself. So that the profession 
of the Pyrrhonians is to waver, doubt, and inquire, 
to be sure of nothing, and to be answerable for no^ 
thing. Of the three operations of the soul, the ima^ 
gination, the appetite, and the consent, they admit 
of the two first, but, as for the last, they support 
and maintain it ambiguously, without inclination or 
approbation either of one thing or another, it is so 
trivial. Zeno described tlie state of his imagination, 
according to this division of the faculties of the mind. 
The hand, extended and open, indicated appearance \ 
the hand half shut, and the fingers a little crooked, 
showed consent ; the right fist clinched, comprehen- 
sion ; and when with the left-hand he yet pressed the 
fist closer, knowledge.t 
The Qdran- Now this Upright and Inflexible state of the opi^ 
P^o- nion of the Pyrrhonians receiving all objects, without 
^*"- application or consentjj leads them to their ataraxy, 
which is a peaceable state of life, composed and ex- 
empt from the agitations which we receive by the im- 
pression of that opinion and knowledge which we think 
we have of things ; from whence arise fear, avarice, 
envy, immoderate desires, ambition, pride, supersti- 
tion, the love of novelty, rebellion, disobedience,^ 
obstinacy, ^nd most of the bodily evils. Nay, and 
by that they exempt themselves from the jealousy 

• Lucret lib. iv. ver, 471, f CiCt Acai Qiisst, lib. iv. cap. 47, 


of their discipline. For they debate after a very 
gentle manner, and in their disputes fear no re- 
venge. When they say that weight presses down- 
ward, they would be^orry to be believed, and want 
to be contradicted, for the sake of creating doubt 
and suspense of judgment, which is their ultimate 
end. Tney only advance their propositions to oppose 
such as they imagine have gained our belief. Ii you 
admit theirs, they are altogether as ready to main- 
tain the contrary. It is all one to them. They have 
no choice. If you maintain that snow is black, they 
will argue, on the contrary, that it is white. If you say, 
that it is neither the one nor the other, their busi^ 
ness is to maintain, that it is both. If you ad- 
here to the opinion that you know nothing of the 
matter, they will maintain that you do : yea, and, if 
by an affirmative axiom you assure them that you 
doubt of a thing, they will argue that you do not 
doubt of it, or that you cannot be sure that you do 
doubt of it. And by this extremity of doubt, which 
shocks itself, they separate and divide themselves 
from many opinions, even of those who have, in 
many forms, maintained doubt and ignorance. Why 
shall it not be allowed to them, say they, as it ia to 
the dogmatists, one to say green, another yellow, 
and even to doubt of these? Can any thing be pro- 
posed to us to acknowledge or deny, which is not 
allowable for us to consider as ambiguous? And 
where others are induced, either by the custom of 
their country, or by the institution of parents, or by 
accident, as by a tempest, without judgment, and 
Without choice, nay, most commonly berore the age 
of discretion, to such or such an opinion, to the sect 
of the Stoics or Epicureans, and are thereto so en- 
slaved and fast bound, as to a thing that they cannot 
recede from ; Ad quamcumque disciplinam^ velut 
tempestate^ delati^ ad eam^ tafiquam ad saxum^ adhce^ 
rescunt:^ " To whatsoever discipline they happen to 

f Cic. 4caoL Qusnt. )ib. iL cap. 3« 


" be introduced, to that sect they cleave, as they 
'.' would to a rock, if drove to it by a storm ;" wlqr 
should not these be permitted, in like manner, to 
maintain their liberty, and consider things without 
obligation and serviHty? Hoc liberiores et solu* 
tioreSy quod Integra illis est judicandi potestas ;* 
*' Being, in this respect, the more free and uncon^ 
" strained, because they have the full power of 
** judging." Is it not of some advantage to be disen-i^ 
gaged from the necessity which curbs others ? Is it 
not better for a man to continue in suspense, than 
to entangle himself in so many errors as human fancy 
has produced ? Is it not better for him to suspend his 
opinion, than to meddle with those seditious and 
wrangling divisions ? What shall I choose ? " What 
** you please, provided you do but choose," As 
silly as this answer is, yet it seems to be the lan- 
guage of all the dogmatists, by whom we. are not 
Permitted to be i^orant of what we are ignorant, 
['ake the most eminent side, it will never be so se- 
cure, but you will be under a necessity of attacking 
a hundred and a hundred contrary opinions for the 
defence of it. Is it not better to keep out of this 
confusion ? You are permitted to embrace Aristotle's 
opinion of the immortality of the soul, with as much 
zeal as if your honour and Life were at stake, and to 
contradict and give the lie to Plato on that head ; 
and shall they be forbid to doubt of it ? If it be law£ii 
for Panastiust to suspend his judgment concerning 
augury, dreams, oracles, vaticinations, of which 
things the Stoics make no manner of doubt, why 
may not a wise man presume to do the same, in al! 
things, that this man dared to do in those things 
which he learned from his master, established by the 
school of which he is a disciple ? If it be a child that 
judges, he knows nothing of the matter j if a wise 
man, he is prepossessed. They have reserved ta 
themselves a wonderful advantage in battle, having 

* Cic* Acad. Quacst* lib. ii. cap. 8. f Idcm^ lib. L cap. ult. 


eased themselves of the care of providing a fence. 
They are not concerned at being struck, provided 
they also strike ; and they make every thing serve 
their purpose. If they overcome, your argument 
is lame ; as theirs is, if you overcome : if they fall 
short, they verify ignorance ; as you do, if you 
miss : if they prove that nothing is known, it goes 
well ; if they cannot prove it, it is altogether as 
well. Ut quum in eadem re paria in contrariis 
partibus momenta tnveniuntur^ jacilius ab utraque 
parte assertio sustineatur :* " To the end that, as the 
*' reasons are equal pro and con upon the same sul>. 
" ject, the determination may easily be suspended on 
" both sides;" and they make account to find out, 
with much greater ease, why a thing is false, than 
why it is true ; and what is not, than that which is j 
andwhatthey donot believe, than what they do believe. 

Their forms of speech are, " I establish nothing: Thecoma 
" it is no more so than so; or no more one than °i«° »*>*• 
*' the other ; I do. not comprehend it : the appear- pyrrho. 
•' ances are, in all respects, equal : the rule of"'*"*^ 
^' speaking, both pro and con^ is alike : nothing 
** seems true, that may not as well seem false." 
Their sacramental word is iviyja^ that is to say, ** I 
** demur to itj I suspend my judgment." This is 
their constant note, with other terms of the like 
significimcy, the effect of which is a pure, entire, 
find absolute pause and suspension of the judgment. 
They make use of their reason to inquire and dis- 
pute, but not to fix and determine, whoever will 
imagine a perpetual confession of ignorance, a 
judgment without bias, and without inclination upon 
any occasion whatsoever, conceives a true idea of 
Pyrrhonism. > I express this whimsicalness as well as 
I can, by reason that many people can hardly con- 
ceive what it is, and authors themselves represent it 
a httle difterently and obscurely. 

As to the actions of life, they follow the common 


* .Cic. Aqad. Qiuest. lib. i. caf * ult. 


What 18 the forms. TIiey3deld and give themselves up to the 
ouhc'**"' natural inclinations, to the impulse and power of 
i^yrrho- the passions, to the constitutions of the laws and 
common customs, and to the tradition of the arts ; Non enim 
>»f«- nos Deus ista scire^ sed tantummodo uti voluit ;t 
" For God would not have us know, but only use 
** these things." They suffer their common actions 
to be guided by tliose things without any delibera*- 
tion or judgment. For this reason I cannot well re- 
concile what is said of Pyrrho with this arguments 
They represent him stupid and immoveable, leading 
a savage and unsociable course of life, putting him- 
self in the way of being jostled by carts, going upon 
precipices, and refusing to conform to the laws. 
This is to exaggerate his discipline. He would not 
be thought a stock or a stone. He would be repre- 
sented as a man living, reasoning, and arguing, en* 
joying all natural conveniences and pleasures, em- 
ploying and making use of all his corporeal and 
Spiritual faculties in rule and reason. As to the 
fantastic, imaginary, and false privileges that man 
has usurpedj of lording it, ordaining and establish- 
ing, he has, in good earnest, renounced and quitted 
The.wTse Yct thcrc is no sect t but is obliged to permit its 
J^ilJg^f*' wise man to follow several things not comprehended, 
hi life by nor perceived, nor consented to, if he means to live : 
and if he goes to sea, he pursues that design, not 
knowing whether it will be successful to him or no ; 
and is mfluenced only by the goodness of the ship, 
the experience of the pilot, the convenience . of the 
season, and circumstances that are only probable. 
According to these, he is bound to go, and suffer 
himself to be governed by appearances, provided 
there be no express contrariety in them. He has a 
body, he has a soul, the senses push him, the mind 

♦ Sextus Empiricus says this verbatim^ Pyrrh, Hypot lib, i. cap. 
t Cic. de Div. lib. i. cap. 18. 
^ Montaigne only ^^opies Cicero here. Acad. Quxst lib. ii. cap. 38* 



Murs him on. Although he do act finid ki himsetf 
this proper and pecidiar token of judging, and 
though he perceives, he ought not to engage hi3 
consent, considering that there may be a false ap- 
pearance, as well as a true, nevertheless he carries 
on the offices of his life with great liberty and con- 
venience. How many arts are there, the professi^ 
of which consists in conjecture more than in know-' 
ledge ? That decide not of truth or falshood, and 
only follow appearances? There is, they say, the 
rignt as well as the wrong, and we have, in us, 
wherewith to seek it, but not to stop it when we 
touch it We are much the better for it, when we 
suffer ourselves to be governed by the world without , 
inquiry. A soul free from prejudice is in a very fair 
way towards tranquillity ; men that judge and con- 
trol their judges, never duly submit to them. 

How much more docile and easy to be reconciled what 
to religion, and the laws of civil policy, are simple b«t''du-* 
and incurious minds, than those over-curious witsP"*"!*" 
and pedagogues, that will still be jprating of divine religion? 
and human causes ? There is nothing in human in- ^^^^^ 
vention that carries so much probabUity and profit. ^mmJ^ 
This man is represented naked and empty, acknow- 
ledging his natural weakness, fit for receiving fo- 
reign strength from above, unfurnished with human 
science, and the more adapted for receiving divine 
knowledge, undervaluing his own judgment to make 
the more room for faith, neither disbelieving nor 
establishing any doctrine contrary to the laws and 
common observances; humble, obedient, docile, 
studious, a sworn enemy to heresy, and conse- 
quently free from the vain and irreligious opinions 
introduced by the false sects. He is as a charte 
blanche, prepared to receive such forms from the 
finger of God, as he shall please to engrave on it* 
The more we resign and commit ourselves to God, 
and the more we renounce ourselves, of the greater 
value we are. " Take in good part,** says the 
preacher^ " the things that present themselves to 


" thee, aA they seem and taste to thee from one ^ay 
** to another : the rest is out of thy knowledge.'* 
Domimis novit cogitationes hominum^ quoniam van^se 
sunt : " The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, 
that they are vanity."* 
the result Thus Wc sce, that of the three general sects of 
fls'ioif oV philosophy, two make open profession 6f doubting 
the Dog- and ignorance ; and in that of the Dogmatists, which 
"*"*^' is the third, it is obvious, that the greatest part of 
them have only assumed the face of assurance, to 
give them the better air. They have not been so 
solicitous to establish any certainty for us, as to 
show us how far they proceeded in this pursuit of the 
truth ; Quam doctijingurft magisquam norunt: " How 
*' the learned rather feign than know/'t Timaeus, 
being to inform Socrates of what he knew of the 
Gods, the world, and men, proposes to speak of 
them to him as one man does to another, and thinks 
it sufficient if his reasons are as probable as another 
man's, for the exact reasons were neither in his hand, 
nor that of any mortal whatsoever ; which one of his 
followers has thus imitated ; Ut poteroj explicabo : 
nee tavien^ tit Pythius Apollo, certa ut sint etJixCj 
qua divero ; sed ut homunculusy probabilia conjee^ 
turd sequens :X "I will explain things in the best 
" manner I can ; yet riot, as the oracle of Delphos, 
*' pronouncing them as fixed and certain, but like 
** a mere man, who adheres to probabilities by con- 
*' jecture." And that other upon the natural and 
popular topic of the contempt of death, as he has 
elsewhere translated it from the very dissertation of 
Plato; Si forte, de deorum naturd ortiique mundi 
disserentes, minus id quod habemus in animo conse^ 
quemur, haud erit miruiH. JEquum est memifiisse, 
et me, qui disseram, hominum esse, et vos qui judice^^ 
tis, ut si probabilia dicentur, nihil ultra reauiratis ;§ 
** If, in discoursing of the nature of the Gods, and 

« Psal. xciV. 1 1. t Plato in Timfleo, p. 526. 

X Cic. Tu8C. Qusest. lib. i. cap. 9. 

j Cicero's Timeus, scu dc UniYcrso FragmentuiDy cap. S. 


*^ the origin of the world, we should happen not to 
** express all that we conceive in our minds, it will 
** be no wonder : for it is but just that we should re- 
** member, that both I who argue, and you who , 

** are my judges, are but men : so that, if probable 
** things are delivered, ye are to require nothing 
" more/* Aristotle commonly heaps up a great 
number of the opinions and beliefs of other jnen, 
for the sake of comparing them with his own, and to 
show us how far he has gone beyond them, and how 
much nearer he approaches to probability : for truth 
is not to be judged by the authority and testimony 
of others : and therefore Epicurus was very careful 
not to quote them in his writings. Aristotle -was the 
prince of all dogmatists, and yet we are told by him, 
that much knowledge administers occasion of doubt- 
ing the more. In fact, we often find him wrapped 
up in obscurity, so thick and impenetrable, that 
we know not, by his opinion, what to choose. It 
is, -in effect, Pyrrhonism under the form of deter- 
mination. Hear Cicero's protestation, who ex* 
pounds another's fency to us by his own : Qui re- 
quirunfj quid de quaqfie re ipsi sentiamus, curiosius^ 
tdfaciuntj qu&m necesse est. — Hac in philosophia ra* 
tioy contra omnia disserendi^ nullamque rem aperth 
judicandij perfecta a Socrate^ repetita ab Arcesila^ 
conjirmata h Carncadcy usque ad nostram viget 
atatem. Hi sumus^ qui omnibus veris falsa qucudam 
adjuncta esse dicamus, tantd si?nititudin€y ut in Us 
nulla i7isit certh judicandi et essentiendi nota :* " They 
** who desire to know what we think of every thing, 
*' are too inquisitive. — This rule in philosophy, of 
** disputing against everything, and of exj^icitly de- 
*' termining nothing, which was founded by So- 
^* crates, re-established by Arcesilaus, and con- 
*' firmed by Carneades, has continued in use even 
** to our times. We are they who declare, that in 
^* every truth there is such a mixture of falshood, 

♦-Cic. de Natura Deorum, lib. i. cap. 5. 


" and that so resembling the truth, that there is ti9 
** mark in them whereby to judge of, or assent to 
*' either with certainty.*' Why has not only Aris-> 
^ totle, but most of the philosophers, affected obscu-^ 
rity, but to enchance the value of the subject, and 
to amuse the curiosity of our minds by furnishing 
them with this bone to pick, on which there is no 
flesh ? Clitomachus * affirmed, that by the writings 

* Montalsne has 6up{)0Sed this to Ifcf the meaning of Cicero, 
whose words are these : ** The opinion of which Ccdliphon Car- 
** neades so studiously defended, that he even seemed to approve of 
" ity although Clitomachus affirmed, that he never could unaerstand 
** what was approved by Cameades." Acad; Qusest. lib. x. cap. 
45. But this IS not saying, ** That Clitomachus asserted, that by 
** the writing of Cameades, he could never discover his opinion.'' 
The dispute is not, what were the opinions of Cameades in the ^ene-' 
fal, but what he used to say in'defcnce of' Calliphon's private opmion 
concerning what constitutes maA*s chief goodi Forasmuch as Car- 
neades was an academician, he could not advance any thing positive 
or clearly decisive upon tliis important question, which wiDs the rea- 
son that Clitomachus never could understand what was the opinion 
of Cameades in this matter. Calliphon made the chief good consist 
in pleasure and virtue both together, which, says Cicero, Cameades 
also was not willing to contradict, ** not that he approved it, but 
*' that he might oppose the Stoics ; not to decide the thing, but to 
*^ embarrass the Stoics." Acad. Quasst. lib. iv. cap. 42. In this 
same book Cicero explains to us several of Cameades's opinions ; 
and what is very remarkable is, that he only does it as they ore set 
forth by Clitomachus. " Having," says he, " explained all that 
" Cameades says upon this subject, all those opinions of Antiochus 
** (the Stoic) will fall to the ground. But, for fear lest I should be 
" suspected of making him say what I think, I shall deliver nothing 
** but what I collect from Clitomachus, who passed his life with Car- 
*' neades till he was an old man, and, being a Carthaginian, was a 
** man of great penetration, very studious moreover, and veir ex- 
*' act." Acad. Qusest. lib. iv. cap. 81. " I have," says Cicero, 
" a little before explained to you from the words of Clitomachus, 
** in what sense Cameades declared these matters." These verjr 
things Cicero repeats afterwards, where he transcribes them from a 
book which Clitomachus had composed and addressed to the poet 
Lucilius. After this, how could Cicero make Clitomachus say, that 
by the writings of Cameades in general, he could never discover 
what were his sentiments ? The truth is, that Clitomachus had not 
read the writings of Cameades ; for, except some letters that he 
wrote to Anarathes, king of Cappadocia, which ran in his name, 
the rest of his opinions, as Dioeenes Laertius says expressly, were 
preserved in the books of his disciples. In Vita Cameadis, lib, iy« 


of Carneades . he could never discover what opinion 
he was of. Why did Epicurus affect to be abstruse, 
and what else procured Heraclitus* the surname of 
<rjroT«vo^, or obscure? 

Obscurity is a coin which tlie learned make use of, 
like jugglers, to conceal the vanity of their art, 
and which the stupidity of mankind takes for current 

Claims bh olscuram Unguam, magis inter tnanes ': 
Omnia eiiim stolidi magis adrnvrantur amaniqite^ 
Inuersis qius Sub verbis laiitaniia cernunt.* 

Bombast and fiddle always puppies please, 
For fools admire and love such things as these i 
And a dull quibble, ambiguously express'd. 
Seems to their empty minds a wond'rous jest. 

Cicero reproves some of his friends for having The liberal 
spent more time in astrology, law, logic, and geo-^'^***^?^!!^ 
metry, than those arts deserved^ saying, that theofttetecu 
study of these diverted them from the more useful ^^"^^j^p"; 
and honourable duties of life. The Cyrenaic philo- 
sophers equally despised natural philosophy and 
logic. Zeno, t in the very beginning of the books 
of the commonwealth, declared all the liberal arts 
unprofitable. Chrysippus said, that what Plato and 
Aristotle had wrote concerning logic, they only 
composed for diversion, and by way of exercise ; 
and ne could not believe that they spoke of so vain 
a thing in earnest. Plutarch says the same of me- 
taphysics : Epicurus had also said as much of rhe« 
toric, grammar, poetry, mathematics, and (natural 
philosophy excepted) of all the other sciences : and 
Socrates says the same of all, except ethics and the 
science of life. Whatever instruction any man ap- 
plied to him for, he always, in the first place, de« 

sect. 65. The same historian tells us, that ClitomachuSy who com** 
posed above 400 volumes, applied himself above all things, to illus- 
trate the sentiments of Carneades, Whom he succeeded. Diogenes 
Laertius, in the Life of Clitomachus, lib. iv. sect. 67. 

* Lucret. lib. i. ver. 640, &c 

f Didg. I^aert. in the Life of Zeno, lib. vii. sect. 32. 



fifed Inm to gire him an aceount of t.he conditiotts 
of his life past and present, which he examined and 
judged) esteeming all other iearmng as supenm^ 
merar}^ Parum mihi placent ea littra (f^uB ad vir* 
tuttm doctoribus nihil prof uerunt ;* " That learning 
^^ is in small repute with me^ which did not contri* 
^ bnte to the virtue of the teachera as well as 
" learners." Most of the arts have been disparage^ 
in like jnanner by the same knowledge. But they 
did not consider that it was Toreign to the purpose 
to exercise their understanding oa those very sub* 
jects, wherein there was no sdiid advantage. 
wb«t were ^s for the rest, some have reckoned Hato a 
fCBtiments.' dogmatist ; others a Aenibtcfr : others in some thingsr 
the former, and in others the latter. Socrates, who 
conducted his dialogioes, is eontinxjMy starting que- 
lies and stirring up disputes, ^ver determining^ 
never satisfying, and prc^sses to have no other 
sscience but that of opposition. Homer, their author^ 
has equally laid the foundations of all the sects of 
philosophy, to show how indifferent it was to which 
of them, we inclined. 
T* how It is ssud, that ten several sects ^rung from Plato ; 
PhTto rave **^ ^ ^y ojpinioB, never did any instruction totter 
b'rtii. and waver, ir his does not. 

Socrates Socwites Said, " that midwives, while they make 
Khnsdru ^* it their business to assist others in bringing forth, 
mWwivca. «< layasidc the misery of their own generation: that^ 
" by tlie title of the sage, which the gods had con- 
" ferred u|K)n him, he was also disabl^ in his virile 
*• and mental love of the fiiculty of bringing forth^ 
'^ contenting himself to help said assist those that 
•* were pregnant, to open their nature, lubk^rat^ 
" their passages, facilitate the birth of the issue of 
" their brains ; to pass judgment on it ; to baptize, 
" nourish, fortify it; to swathe and circumcise ity 
** exercising and employing his understanding in 
" the perils ahd fortunes of others." 

* SaHuit, jh 94, Mftttaire's ediu London, 171S. 

RABir6Mi> !taB 'Sl^ONDE^ 147 

The«ase h the samewiiSi the geweralihr erf theThewmc 
authors of this third dass, as flic andents have obi^*2dtf 
served of .the writings of Anaxiagoras, Democr}tus,n»"y«r««t 
ParmoDideSy Xenqphon, imd ol^era. They have a^J^^i!^^ 
manner of writing doubtfiil, both in substance and«"o" 
design, rather inquiring than teaching, though they^ **"'' 
intermix some dogmatical periods in then- compos 
sitions. Is not tMs also visible in Seneca and nu- 
tarch? How self-contradfctory do they appear to 
such as pry narrowly into them ? And th^ recon- 
cilers of the lawyers ought first to reconcile them 
every one to themselves. Plato seems to me to havfe 
effected this form of philosophising by dialogues, to 
the end tJiat he mi^t With greater d6cency, from 
several mouths deliver the diversity and variety of 
his own fancies. To treat of matters variously is 
altogether as well as* to treat of them conformably, 
and indeed better ; that is to say, more copiously, 
and with greater profit. Let us only look at home; 
sentences or decrees are the utmost period of all 
-dogmatical and determinative speaking: and vet 
fhose arrets which our parliaments make, those that 
are the most exemplary, and that are most proper to 
citffivate the rfeverence due from the people to that 
dignity chiefly, considering the ability of the per* 
sons vested with it, derive their beauty not so much 
from the oonclusioils, which are what they pass every 
day, and are common to every judge, as from the 
discussion and debating of the differing and contrary 
arguments which the matter of law admits c^. And 
&e largest field for the censures, which some philo- 
sophers pass upon others, is owing to the contra- 
dictions and variety of opinions, wherein every one 
of them finds himself entangled, either on purpose 
to show the wavering of man's understanding upon 
every subject, or else ighorantly compelled to it by 
the voIubUity and incomprehensibility of all matter : 
which is the very Bignincation^ of thiit maxim, «0 

* To prove that thir waa exactly what I^IoDtaigiie intetided vf 



often repeated by Plutarch, Seneca, and manr 
other writers of their class, viz. " In a slippery track 
^ let us suspend our belief:" for, as Euripides says, 

God'd various works perplex the thoughts of men.* 

Like that which Empedocles often makes use of in 
his books, as if he was agitated By a divine ftiry, and 
compelled by the force of truth. No, no, we feel 
nothing we see nothing, all things are concealed 
from us ;t here is not one thing of which we can 
positively determine what it is, according to the 
divine saying, Cogitationes mortalium timida^ et 
incertcB adinventiones nostra et providentia : t " The 
*' thoughts of mortal men are miserable, and our 
^* devices are but uncertain/' 
The search Jt must not bc thought straugc if men, though 
w^gree-th^y dcsoair of overtaking the prey, nevertheless 
able occu- take a pleasure in the pursuit : study being of itself 
'*^^°* a pleasant employment, so delightful, that, amongst 
the other pleasures, the Stoics also forbid that which 
proceeds from the exercise of the understanding;, arc 
actually for curbing it, and think too mucli know- 
ledge intemperance. 

Democritus, having eaten figsg at his table which 

those words, Que signifie ce refrein^ &c. which Mr, Cotton has most 
absurdly turnect into an interrogation by this jargon. ** What means 
** this chink in the close V* I need only point you to those that im- 
' mediately preceded them in the quarto edition of 1588 ; where, af- 
t^r having spoken of those ancient philosophers '^ who had a form 
** of writmg (fubiou?, both in substance and design, inquiring rather 
^ than instructinfg, though they intermix some dogmatical periods 
f* in tliek style,'^ Montaigne says, in the same breath, '^ Wnere k 
^/ this more visible than in our Flutarch ? How differently does he 
**^ reason upon the same topic ? How often does he give us two or 
" three contrary causes' for the same' effect, and how many variour 
** arguments without preferring either to our choice?" 

* Plutarch' s Treatise of the Oracles that ceased, chap. 24. 

f Cic. QusBst. Acad. lib. iv. cap. 5. 

t Wisdom, ix. H. 

} Plutarch^s Table Talk. Qu. 10, lib. i. This quotation, which I 
found as soon as I had dipped into the last edition of Bayle's Criti-' 
cal Dictionary, at the article Democritus, note 1, is very just, as I 
was fully convinced by consulting Plutarch himself; but I hax9 


tasted of honey, fell immediately to considering D^mocri- 
within himself from whence they derived that ^^-^on^ia^ 
common sjv^etness ; and, to be satisfied, was about qnines into 
to rise from the table, to jsee the place where the ^^^ 
figs were gathered : the maid, being informed whatphy. 
was the cause of the bustle, said to him, with a 
smile; that h^ need give himself no trouble about 
it, for ^he had put them into a vessel in which there 
had been honey. He was vexed at the discovery, 
because it had deprived him of the opportunity of 
finding out the cause himself, and robbed his curio- 
sity of matter to work upon. " Go thy way," said 
he to her, " thou hast done me an injury ; but, 
^ however, I will seek out the cause of it as if it 
^ was natural -/' and he would fain have found out 
some true cause of an eflfect that was false and ima^ 
ginary. This story of a famous and great philoso- 
pher does very clearly represent to us the studious 
passion that amuses us in the pursuit pf the things 
which we despair of acquiring. Plutarch gives a 
like example of one who would not be set right in 
a matter of doubt, because he would not lose the 
pleasure of seeking it ; and of another person who 
would not suffer his physician to allay me thirst of 
his fever, because he would not lose the pleasure of 
quenching it by drinking. Satius est supervacua 
discere quam nihil : ** It is better to leam> more than 
^ is necessary than nothing at all.'' 

j^s many things which we eat are pleasant to theThccoau- 
palate, though neither nourishing nor wholesome, in^^J^.^^ 
like manner, what our understanding extracts from^o^*?^ 
science, is nevertheless pleasant, though it is nei-Jnan?' 
dier nutritive nor salutary. What they say is this : 
^ the consideration of nature is food proper for our 
^^ minds ; it elevates and pufis us up, makes us dis- 
'^ dainlow and terrestrial things, in comparison with 

learnt from M. de la Monnoye, that, according to Plutarch, Demo- 
critus eat Vw rlwtf*, a cucumber, and not t« r5«#», a fig, as Mon- 
taigne has translated it, copying after Amyot and Xylander, 
• Senec. epist. 88. ■ 

latt 4y AffOflLMY TOR 

^ lluaga tliat 9re tablkne and cdestiaL Thye Wfui^ 

^^ flidon into great aad 9e^uk thin|(8 is ver^ plettttK^ 

^ even to htm who acquirer nothing t^.nt but the 

^ leveDeiioe and awe cf judging it." Thos^ are* the 

terms of thtir ^afessioii. The vaaa image of thia 

aicUy curiosity is yet sttore maniftst by wis other 

eiwttple> ^xditch they are often foiid of urgiiig : £».« 

doxi^B* widied, and praf^^d to the gods^ that h0 

xni^ oAoe see tibe sun near at band» to cDmjj^eheiid 

the fonn, magn^udey and beauty of it, thoi^h he 

should be au&enly burnt by it. He waa desirou^ii 

ati the peril of his Itfe, to* acquire » knowledge, of 

>irhich the use «ad posaession would be take$ from 

him at the same instflUt ; and, fer the sake of tjiia 

audden and' tranaitory kaowleidge, lose aU the othep 

knowledge he had wen, or au^ have aQqwe4 


The at«Bs J ca&not casily persuade myael^ that Epkuruas 

r^fhT' Plate,! and Pythagorafi, have given us their atoaaat* 

puTo^the ^^^» ^d numbers^ fbr articles of our iuth* They 

nnm^^n tfivepe too wise to establish things so uncertaiiH and 

^^'So^ so dilutable, Ibr their credaida. But, ia the then 

whktcDd ehBcure and ignorant state of the worlds each of 

a?4r<^. f^^^^ ff^^ ii^^en endeavoured to strike out soMe 

' imi^ of Ught, whatever it was, and racked dieir 

brains for inventions, that had, at least, a pleasant 

and subtle mpeaiance, provided that, however £ibe. 

thejr were, they might be aMe to stand their ground 

against opposition ; Unicuique istu pro mg^nio^n^ 

guntary nan ex scientuB vi:t ^^ Those aire thuKga 

^* which every one ^ncies, aeewding to hie g^uus, 

'' not by \4rtifteof koowJedge.'^ 

^^^hii ^^^ ^^ ^^ ancients, being reproached that he' 

^**^ professed philosophy, but nevertheless, in h^ ow» 

* la Pliilnfc|i'« 1V)i0t, '< T3Mtitkinpo•sibletoli▼atlKllilva<> 
•• cording to the doctrine of Epicurus," ch^. 8, you will find, in 
Diogenes Laertiuf, lib. viii. sect 86'— 91, the life of Eudoxus, that 
celebrated jpythagorean philosopher, who was coteroporary witti 

t M. Senec; Suasori^rum, lib. u Suas. i. 

lOpiaicm, made ao great account of k^ made aildWef^Bophy. 

4faat this ^w«8 the true wa;r c^ phUofiO^imfig : tb«y t^'^^h'^^^^^^ 

.iwould consider aJl, and weigii every thing ; add have pben, wiUi 

dSmnd this an enipio3f»ient suited ti^our natural cu-r^^^o^ 

dbsky. Somethtiig ikty have written for the use of^<>>« 

fiubHc society^ as their rdigions ; and for that con- ^'' 

AderatioD) as it was but reasonable, th^ w^ne j»tft 

fwUIng to sift ^ comtnon notions t60 mt^Iy, that 

4hiey might not obstnKit the coniMon obedience to 

jihe laws and ^sftoms ^f tliftir country* Hsto tk^ats 

jthis mystery Willi bane&ced raillery ; for, whelti he 

^writes accosdiitg to his own method, he gives no 

certain ruie« When he personate!; the jiegislaitor, hb 

<8B8ttmes a style ^at is ma^terid and <lo|ti3;$ticaI; 

and yet, therewith, boldly tnises the most mntastic4 

«f hu invaitions, as it to pe^rauade the vulgar, as 

ahey axe too ridiculous to be believed by himsefi; 

JBDowiag very wdl how it we are to receive all man*- 

iier of impressions^' especially tl)^ most violent and 

SMBoderate. Yet, » his laws, be takes great care 

diat TMt^ng be si^qg in public but poetry, of which 

the fibuloBS flctiom tend to some useful purpose t 

it being so easy to imprint all phantasms in the hu^ 

eum mind, ^t it were injustice not to feed tt with 

poaAtabit Jiei, Mther than with those that are un* 

profitable apd prejfodLcial. He says, without any 

houple, in hig republic, that it is very often necesr- 

aary for men^s good to decdve them. It is easy to 

^distiuffiiish the sects that have mo9t adhered to ttnth, 

and those that have most view to profit, by which 

the latter <hafve gained c»*edit. It often happens, 

that the thing which appears to Qur imagination to 

}}e the most true, seeins not to be the most profitable 

in life, .The boldest sects, as the Epicurean, Pyr- 

rhonian, and the new academic, 'are constrained, 

after all is said and done, to submit to the civil law, 

latere are other subjects, which they have discussed, 

some on the right, others on the left ; and each sect 

(Endeavours to give them some eountenance, be it 

rigi)t Or wrong. For,, finding Both^ so abstrusQ 


which they would not venture to treat of, they were 
very often forced to forge weak and ridiculous con- 
jectures ; not that they themselves looked upon 
them, as any foundation for establishing any certain 
truth, but merely for the exercise of their study. 
Non tarn id sensisse^ quod dicerent, quam esercere in- 
genia materia difficultaies videntur mluisse : '^ Not 
" that they seeni to^have been persuaded (rfthe truth 
" of what they said, but rather that they were wil- 
" ling to exercise their talents, by the difficulty of 
^' the subject'' If this was not the case, how shall 
we palliate so great inconstancy, variety, and vanity 
of opinions, as we see have been produced by those 
excellent and admirable souls? As, for instance, 
what can be more vain, than to offer to define Ood 
by our analogies and conjectures ? To r^ulate him 
and the world by our capacities and our laws ? To 
make use of that little scantling of knowledge, 
which he has been pleased to 9II0W to our state of 
nature, to his detriment ? And, because we cannoi 
extend our sight to his glorious throne, to bring him 
down to a level with our corruption and our mi.^ 
series ? * 

'robSbi* ^^ ^^ human and ancient opinion? concerning re- 
of^iibu! ligion, that seems to me the miost probable, and 
~°jp|jj'-the most excusable, which acknowledged God to 
inr rdi- ' be an incomprehensible power, the original and 
gion. preserver of all things, all goodness, all perfection, 
receiving and taking in good part the honour and 
reverence, which man paid upon him, under what 
appearance, name, or ceremonies soever : 

S. Jupiter omnipotens rernm, regumque djetimque, 
Progeniicr genetrixque,* 

**The almighty Jupiter^ the author of all things, and the 
'' parent of kings and gods.'' 

This zeal has been universally looked upon from 

* Those which were the verses of Valerius Soranus, were preserve 
ed by Varro, from whom St. Augustine has inserted them in. his 
book de Civitate Dei, lib. rii. pap. 9, 11. ' ' 


henven with a gracious eye* All civilized nations 
have reaped fruit from their devotion. Impious men 
and actions have every-where had suits^ble events. 

The pagan histories acknowledge dignity, order. The id«t 
justice, prodigies, and oracles, employed. for their Jljijjjjjjjj^ 
profit and instruction in their, bibulous religions : tories gif* 
God in his mercy vouchsafing, perhaps, by these *"^^^ 
temporal benefits, to cherish the lender principles of 
a kind of brutish knowledge, which they had of him, 
by the Jight of nature, tnrough the false images of 
their dreams* And those which man bas framed out 
of his own invention, are not only false, but impious 
and injurious. 

Of all the religions which St. Paul found in re- what st. 
pute at Athens, that which they devoted to|*^*j^^^ 
cret and unknown God, seemed to him the most ex- the Athe- 
cusable. +w ^:^ 

^ Pythagoras shadowed the truth a little more God. 
closely, judging that the knowledge of this first j^^^^^' . 
cause, and being of beings, ought to be indefinite thooght of 
without prescription, without declaration : that it wh-.Jwn 
was nothing but the extreme effort of our imagina-<^^onn<^f 
tion towards perfection, every man amplifying the 
idea of him, according to his capacity. But, if 
Numa attempted to confofip the devotion of his 
people to this project^ to unite them to a religion 
purely mental, without any present object and mate- 
rial mixture, he attempted a thing of no use. Sk 

The mind of man cannot possibly maintain itself, There must 
floating in such an infinity of rude conceptions. Jj;*P^^" 
There is a necessity of adapting them to a certain on for the 
image proportioned to his capacity. The divine ma- J'^jln*^'. 
jesty has, therefore, in some measure, suffered him- Montaigne, 
seli^ for our sakes, to be circumscribed in corporal 
limits. His supernatural and celestial mysteries nave 
signs of our earthly state. His adoration is expressed 
by offices and words that are borrowed from the 
senses ; for it is man that belieyes, and that prays. 
J omit the other arguments that ai*e made use of 
upon this subject But I can hardly be induced to 

15* . A» ATOLOCT foil 

beUeve, timt the sight of our crucifixes, that liM 

^etme of our S^riour's pamon, that the onuuneots 

and ceremonioua motions in our chorcfaesy tiiat the 

Yo^ces accomxnodaCed to <iie devoutness of our 

thoughts, and that this rousing of the.senses, do not 

warm the souls of the people with a religious pas* 

sioQ of a very salutanr emeL 

rke worw Of the objects of worship^ to which they have 

son (he given a body, according as necessity reqmred m 

MbieS*^"""*^ univeisal blindness, 1 should, I nncy, most in* 

^tio^n. "^ dine to those wjbo adored the sun : 

La tumiere commune^ 

VobU du monde : et si D'leu au chef porte des yeux, 

Les rayons du soleil sonf ses yeux naiiauXj 

Qai dtmtent vie i tonSf turns ntainir&meni etgardentf 

Et ksfaictsies bommes en €e mmde regmtd^ : 

Ce beau, ce grand soleil, qui nausfaict ks saisons, 

Sehn qu^il entre, ou sort des ses aouze maisons : 

Old remplit l*univer$ de ses vertus cognnis, 

Qui d* un iraict de ses yeua: nous dissapre ks nufs : 

iJestfrit, Fame du mofuk^ ardent eiflttn^mfani, ' 

En la amrse d! am jour t9Ut le del teumogmU^ 

Plein d' immense grandeur, rond, vagabend, etferme ; 

tequel tient dessous hiy tout le monde pour terme : 

En repoSj sans repos, oysif et sans sejour, 

Fils aisrte de nature, et le pere dujour.* 

The common light that equal shines on all, 

Diffhs'tl around the wiiote tef rail rial baH ; 

And, if th' almighty ruler of llie Mes 

Has eyes, the sun-beams aie his radiant eyes. 

That life and safety give to young and <dd, 

Axid all men's actions upon earth behold. 

•This great, this beautiful, and glorious sun. 

Who makes their course the varied seasons run ; 

That with his virtues fiHs tfie universe, 

And with one glmicfi oan sullen clouds disperse; 

Earth's fife and soul, tfaat^ flaoiiag in his sphere. 

Surrounds tlie heavens in one day's caveer; 

Immensely ffreat, moving yet firm and round, 

W1h> tlie whole world below has made his bound j 

At rest, whhout rest, idle without stay, 

Nature's first son^ and father of the day, 

* Konaard. 

RAqf01H> Wt 8CB0KDE. ' IS5 

^Poramrachr as^ besides diis his magutude aiui beauty, 
it is the piec^ of this machiae which we discover at 
the remotest distaace from us, and therefore so little 
known, tha^ they were pwdonable for entering into 
Ibe admiration and reverence of it. 

Thalea, who was tl}e fiiBt tiiat inquired* into things 
g£ this nature, thonght God to be a ^irit, that made 
f^ thii^ pf water. Anaxkaaander, that the gods 
were, at difibr^^ and distant seascms, djring and eiv- - 
iering into Iife,t and that there was an infinite num- 
t>er of worlds. Anaximenes, that the air was God,t 
that he was immense, infinite, and always in motion. 
Aaaxagoras§ was the first man w1k> believed, that 
the description and msmner of aU things, were con^ 
ducted by the power and reason of an mfinite spirit. 
AkmsBon II ascribed divinity to the « sun, the moon, 
the stars, and the soul. Pythagoras has made God^ 
to be a wmt, difiused through the nature of all things, 
&mn wnence our souls are cjntracted. Parme* 
nides,** a circle surrounding heav^i, and mpwxrt>' 
ing tlfte world by its heat and light. £mpedoclestt 
pronounced the four dements, of which all things 
are composed, to be a god. Protagorasit had no- 
thing to say, whether there were ^>d9 or not, or 
what they were« Dem6critus§§ was one while of 
<){imion, that the images and llieir revolutions were 
l^dsjUII at another time he deified that nature, 
which darts out those savages ; and, at anotha: time, 
be pa^s this attribute to our knowledge and under* 
standmg. PlatoiFiT puts his 0{»nion into various 
Hghts. He says, in ms Timssus, that the father of 
the world cannot be named; and, in his book of 
laws, that, he thinks men ought no( to inquire into 
his being j and elsewhere, in the very same book, 
he makes the world, the heaven, the stars, the earth, 
and our souls, gods ; admitting, moreover, those 

« Ck. de Nat Deor; lib. i. eap.lQ. f I^* i^i<l* t ^- >i>^ 
I Id. ibid. cap. II. || Id. ibid. fid. ibid. **Id.aMd. 

ft Id. ib. cap. IS. %X He was a sophist of Abdera, Id. ibid. 
, f.j ULMi. IIH IiLibid. f f Id.ibid. 



which have been received by ancient institution in 
every republic. Xenophon* reports a like perplexity 
in the doctrine of Socrates ; one while affirming that 
men ought not to inquire in the form of God, and 
presently making him maintain that the sun is GodI, 
and the soul God : one while, he says, he maintains 
there is but one God, and afterwards, that there are 
many gods. Speusippus, Plato's riephew,t makes 
God to be a certain power governing all things, and 
that it is an aniitial. Aristotle} one while says, it is 
the soul, land another while the world ; one while 
he gives this world another master, and at another 
time makes God the ardour of heaven. Xenocrates§ 
makes the gods to be eight in number, of whom 
five were among the planets ; the sixth consisted of 
fil the fixed stars, as so many of its members : the 
seventh and eighth the sun and moon. Heradides 
Ponticus II is of a wavering opinion^ and finally de- 
prives God of sense, and makes him shift from one 
form to another, and afterwards says, it is heaven 
and earth. Theophrastus % wanders in the same un- 
certainty amongst all his fandes, one while ascribing 
the superintendency of the world tx> the understand- 
ing, at another time to heaven, and one while also 
to the stars. Stjj^o*^ will have it to be nature^ 
having the power^' generation, augmentation, and 
diminution, but without form and sentiment. 
Zenott makes it to be the law of nature, command- 
ing good and forbidding evil, which law is an animal^ 
and takes away the accustomed gods, Jupiter, Juno^ 
Vesta, &c. Diogenes Apolloniatestt ascribes the 

♦ Cic. de Natura Deorum, lib. i. cap. If + Idem, cap. IS. 

% Id. ibid. § Id. ibid. N Id. i)i)id. 

f Id. ibid. **Id. ibid, cap, 14. ft Id. ibid. 

1^1 caonot imagine where Montaigne learned, that age was thet 
Deity acknowledged by Diogenes of Apollonia; age most surely • 
have been printed instead of air^ in one of the first editions of his 
Essays, from whence this error was continued in all the foUowhig 
editions. It is certain, however, that Cicero says, expressly, that 
air is the god of Diogenes Apolloniates, in his Natura Deorum, lib. i. 
cap. 12, with whom agrees St. Axuitin, \x\ his book de Civitate V^i^ 

\^^^' ^AIMOND DE SKBONDE. 157 

deity to om) Xenophanes* makes God round, 
seeing andTiearing, but not breathing, nor having 
any thing in common with the nature of man. 
Aristot thinks the form of God to be incx)mprehen- 
siUe, deprives him of sense, and knows not whether 
he be an animal or something else. Cleanthcs t one 
while supposes him to be reason, another while the 
world ; sometimes the soul of nature, at other times 
the supreme heat, called sther, rolling about and 
encompassing all. Perseus,§ the , disciple of Zeno, 
was of opinion, that men who have been remarlcably 
useful to society, are surnamed gods. Chrysippus U 
made a confused collection of all the foregoing opi- 
nions, and reckons men also, who are immortali3ed 
amoi^st a thousand forms, which he makes of gods. 
Diagoras and Theodorus^ flatly deny that there 
were ever any gods at all. Epicurus** makes the 
gods shining, transparent, and perflable, lodged be- 
tween the two worlds, as between two groves, se- 
cure from shocks, invested with a human ngure, and 
the members that we have, but which are to them 
of no use : 

1%. viii. cap. 2t from whom it also appears, that this philosopher 
ascribed sense to the air, and that he called it the matter out of which 
all things were formed, and that it was endowed with divine reason, 
without which nothing could be made. M. Ba^e, in his dictionary, 
at the article of Diogenes of ApoUonia, infers, that he made a 
whole, or a compound, of air and the divine virtue, in which, if 
air was the matter, the divine virtue was the soul and form ; and 
Uiat, by conseauence, the air, animated bjthe divine virtue, ought, 
according to that philosopher, to be styled God. As for the rest, 
this philosopher, by ascribing understanding to the air, differed 
from his master Anaximenes, who thought the air inanhnate. 

* Diog. LaerU in the Life of Xenophanes, lib. ix. sect. 19. 

f Cic. de Nat Deorum, lib. L cap. 14b % Idem, ibid. 

§ Idem, ibid. cap. 15. 

II Id. ib. See a learned and judicious remark on this passage by the 
president Boulier, torn. i. of the translation, by the Abb6 d'Olivet, , 

p. 247. 

% Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. L cap. 23, and Sextut Empiric, adv. 
Mathem. lib. viii. p. S17« 

** Cic. de Divinatione, lib. ii. cap. I7« • 

Ego Deum genus esse semper Aixi, etdicam^^mlkmn^ 
Sed ew non curare jopiner, qmi agat hamanum germs ^ 

I ever diought that gods above there ifrare, 
But do not think they care what men do here» 

Trust now, sirs, to your plrilosoph^, aud brag that 
you have found out Ae very thing you wanted^ 
amidst this rattle of so many philosophical heads^ 
The perplexity of so many worldly forms have had 
this effect upon me, that manners and opinions, dif- 
fering from mine, do not so much disgust as instruct 
me ; and, upon a comparison, do not puff me up 
so much as they humfole me : and afl other choice 
than that, which comes expressly from the hand of 
God, seems to me a choice of small prerogative. The 
polities of the world are no less contrary up<m thi» 
subject than the schools, whereby we may learn that 
fortune itself is not more ^^able and inconstant 
than our reasOfU, nor more blind and inconsiderate. 
To make The things which are the most unknown, are the 
Sulfite ^'*™*' V^^^^ t^ ^® deified. Wherefore, to make gods 
utnoitde. of ourselves, as the ancients did, is the most rimcu- 
SrTa^^ **"lous and childish imagination possible. I would soon- 
i^ce. er adhere to those who worshipped the serpent, the 
dog, and the ox ; as their nature and existence are less- 
known to us, and we have more authority to ima-> 
gine what we please of those beasts, and to ascribe ^ 
e^traordinaiy faculties to them. But to have made ^ 
gods of those of our own condition, of whom we can* 
not hut know the imperfecticm, and to have attributed^ 
to them desire, anger, revenge, marriage, generation^ 
kindred, love and jealousy, our members and our. 
bones, our fevers and our pleasures, our deaths and 
burials, must needs proceed from a marvellous intox*^ 
ication of the human understanding : 

Qti€B promVusque adeo divino ad mtmine distant, 
Inque Deum numero quce sint indigna videritj^ 
Tor these are so unlike the gods ; the frame 
So much unworthy of that prions name* 


♦ Lucret.lib. ver. 12S, 12*. 


*^ The ^i&rent forms of these Oods are knovH) to- 
^^ gether with their ages, apparel, ornaments, gene- 
^ alogies, marriages, kindred; and they are exhi- 
^^ bited, in respects, according to the similitude of 
*' human weakness j for they are represented to us 
^ with disturbed minds, and we read of the concu- 
" piscence and anger of the gods."* It is equally 
abnird to have ascribed divinity, not only to faith, 
virtue, honour, concord, liberty, victory, piety, but 
also to voluptuousness, fraud, death, envy, old age, 
misery, fear, feter, ill-fortune, and other injuries of 
our frail and transitory life : 

Quidjuuai hoCf tetnpiis nostras indmcere mores F 
U curvcB in terris aninuB et caelesiium inanes ff 

O abject souls, stuck ever deep in clay ! 
Souls UDeulightea'd by celestial ray 1 
.Else, could we thus affront each sacred shrine, 
Could we to gods mere human dross assign ? 

The Egyptians, with an impudent precaution, inter^ The impv- 
dicted, upon pain of han^g, that any one should camiSrjf 
say, that their gods, Serapis and Isis, had formerly the Egyp- 
been men: yet no one was ignorant, that they had[jji"**jj"^ 
been such. And their effigies, with the finger upcm 
the mouth, signified, says Varro, that mysterious de« 
cree to their priests^ to conceal their mortal original, 
as it must, by necessary consequence, cancel all the 
veneration paid to them. Seeing that man so much 
desired to equal himself to God, he had done better, 
says Cic^o, to have attracted tlie divine qualities to 
himself, and drawn them down hither below, than to 
send his corruption and miseiy upwards. But, to 
take it right, he has several ways done both the one 
and the other, with like vanity of (pinion. When wi^ther 
the philosophers search narrowly into the hierarchy IJ^pJI**" 
of their gods, and make a great bustle about distin-werese- 
guishing their alliances, offices, and power;, I can-[J^^,V° ^^ 
iK>t believe they ^ak as they think. When Platatbehirr. 

* CiCi de Natura Deonun, lib, iL cap- 23. 
j; Persius, s&t fi. v. 61. ' 

160 An ai>ology fob 

arcjiy of describcs Pluto's vcrgcr to U8, and the bodily coit- 
InTJf'fhe veniences or pain that attend us, after the ruin and 
cuDdition annihilation of our bodies, and accommodates them 
•nriher" to the scnsc we have of them in tliis life : 

Secret i celant rallesj et myrtea circum 

Sylva tegit. Cwee non ipsa in morie relhfqtntnt.* 

In vales and mjTtle groves they pensive lie ; 
Nor do their cares forsake them when they die. 

Wlien Mahomet promises his followers a paradise 
hung with tapestry, adorned with gold and precious 
stones, fiirnished with wenches of excellent beauty, 
rare wines, and delicate dishes : I plainly see that 
they are in jest, when, to humour our sensualit^^ 
they allure and attract us by hopes and opinions suit- 
able to our mortal appetites: yet some, amongst 
us, are fallen into the like error, promising to them- 
selves, after the resurrection, a terrestrial and tem- 
poral life, accompanied with all sorts of worldly con- 
veniences and pleasures. Can we believe, that Plato, 
he who had such heavenly conceptions, and was so 
well acquainted with the Divinity, as tlience to 
acquire the surname of the Divine Plato, ever 
thought that the poor creature, man, had any thing 
in him applicable to that incomprehensible power ? 
And that he believed, that the weak holds we are 
able to take were capable, or the force of our under- 
standing sufficient to participate of beatitude, or eter- 
nal pains ? We should then tell him, from human rea- 
son, if the pleasures thou dost promise u&, in the 
other life, are of the same kind that I have enjoyed 
here below, this has nothing in common with infi- 
nity : though all my five natural senses should be 
even ravished with pleasure, and my soul full of all 
the contentment it could hope or desire, we know 
what all this amounts to, all this would be nothing :^ 
if there be any thing of mine there, there is nothing^ 
divine ;^ if this be no more than what may belong to 

• ^neid. lib. vi. vef • 443. 



biir present condition, it cannot be of any accbulit i 
all contentment of mortals is temporary ; even the 
knowledge of our parents, children, and friends, if 
that can affect and delight us in the other world, if that 
still continue a satisfaction to us there, we still re- 
main in earthly and finite donveniences : we cannot, 
as we ought, conceive the greatness of these high and 
divine promises,yu we could in any sort conceive 
them,/ To have a worthylSea of them, we must ima- 
gine them to be incomprehensible, and absolutely 
different from those of our wretched experience, 
•' Eye hath not seen," saith St Paul,* " nor ear 
^ ** heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, 
: *' the things that God hath prepared for them that 
(" love him." And if, to render us capable, our being what miut 
be reformed and changed (as thou sayest, Plato, by^pj^^^,f 
thy purifications), it ought to be so extreme and total ourbeinc, 
St change, that, by natural philosophy, we shall be no ^ f^^tur^ 
more ourselves : »»> h«ppu 


Hector erat tunc aim lello certalat, at ille 
Tractus ah Mmonio mm erat Hector equo.\ 

He Hector was, whilst he did fight, but when 
Drawn by Achilles' steeds, no Hector then. 

It must be something else that must receive thes^ 
rewards : 

— — Quod muiaiury dissolviti&^ intetit ergo \ 
Trajichmtur enim partes atque ordine migrant. % 

Tilings, chang'd, dissolved are, and therefore die ; 
Their parts are mix'd, and from their order fly. 

^or, in Pythagoras's metempsychosis, and tlie change 
of habitation that he imagined souls underwent, can 
we believe, that tlie lion, in whom the soul of Cassar 
is inclosed, does espouse Caesar's passions, or that 
the lion is he ? For, if it was still Caesar, they would 
be in the right, who, controverting this opinion with 
Plato, reproach him, that the son might be seen to 

♦ 1 Cor. ii. 9. t Ovid. Trist. lib. iii. eL 2, rer. 27. 

X Lucret. lib. iii. ver. 756. 


tidt bis mother transformed into a mule^ and the 
Hke absurditien; and can we believe, that^ in the 
transfoxmatioQs which are made of the bodies of ani- 
mals into others of the same kind^ that the new 
comers are no other than their predecessors i Front 
the a^es of a phoenix,* they say a worm is en- 
Ipendered, and from that another phoenix ; who can 
imagine that l^is seccmd phoenix is no other than the 
first? We see our silk-worms, as it were^ die and wi* 
tlier; and from: this withered body a butterfly is pro* 
duced, and from that another worm ;. how ridicuioua 
would it be to imagine, that this was still the first f 
That which has once ceased to be, is no more : 

Nee si maierican nostram collegerlt tetas 
Post obitum, rursUmaue redegerit, ut stia mmc est, 
Atque iterUm nobis fuerint data lumma vittB, 
Pertineai quidquam tamen ad ncs id quoquejadum, 
Intemtpta semel cum sit repetentia nostra^f 

Neither, tliough time should gather and restore 
Our ashes to the form they hful before. 
And give again new life and light withal, 
Would that new figure us concern at all ; 
Nor the same pensons we e*ermore be seen^ 
Our being havuig interrupted been. 

And Plato, when thou sayest, in another pliuie^ that 
it shall be the spiritual part of man, that will be con* 
cemed in the fruition of the rewards in another life,, 
thou tellest us a thing, wherein tiiere is as little ap- 
pearance of truth : 

Scilicet avohtis radivilns, ut nequit ullam 
Dispicere ipse oadusrem, searsum c&ipore toto,X 
As the eye stliTenSy and becomes quite blind. 
When from its socket rent ; so soul and mind 
Lose all tlieir pow'rs, when from tlie limbs disjoin 'd. 

For, at tliis rate, it would no more be man, nor con* 
sequentl^ us, who should be concerned in this enjoys 
raept: for we are composed of two essential , parts, 

• pHn« Nat, Hist. lib. x. cap. 2, f Lucret lib, iii. \er. 859, &c. 
X Id. ibid. ver. 562, &c. 

liAkMbNn fifi jEBdin)E^ 16$ 

i&!6 separation of wfitch is the death and rum of &at 

Inter enimjecta est vUai pausa, vaglque 
Heerrarunt passim motus al stnsilms omnes.f . 

When oDce that pause of life b com^ betweei^ 
Tis just the same as we had; never been. 

We do not say that the man tmSkts^ though the 
Worms feed upOtt hii iiieinb«ir% and that the eardi 
conBumes f hem : 

Et nihil hoc ttd nos^ qui ccitu conjugidqm 
Corporis atqmammiBConsistimusianterapH.'f 
What's that to us ? for we are only we, 
WliUe soul and body ioerte firame i^eev 

Moreover^ upon what principle of justice can thexitefoiui. 
ttods take notice of, or reward man, after his death^^^f 
H)r his good and virtuous actions, which they them* and ponWi* 
selves promoted and produced in him? And '^^y^^^ 
should they be offended at, or punish him for wicked '^•^ 
ones, since themselves have created him in so frail a 
condition, and when, witli one glance of their wil^ 
the^ might prevent him from falling? Might not 
Epicurus, with great colour of human reason, o1:^oct 
that to Plato ? Did he not often save himself witii 
this sentence, ^' that it is imposnble to establish aay I 
*' thing certain of the immortal nature bv the mortal ? > 
'^ She does nothing but err throughout, but e,w&d^j 
^^ when she medmes with divine things. ^Wno does 
more evidently perceive this, than we (fo ? for a|« 
though we have given her certain and infallible prin* 
ciples, and though we have enlightened her stepd 
with iJie sacred lamp of truth, which it hf» pleased 
God to communicate to us f we dailv see, devalue* 
less, that if she swerve never so little i^pm liie or(£» 
nzxy path, and strays from, or wanders out of ^ 
way, set out and beaten by the ohuTQlfiy howspou.fl^ 

*. Lucret Ub. iiL ter. 87^ f ^^ ^^^ ^•r. 6S7. 


loses, confounds, and fetters herself, tumbling and 
floating in this vast, turbulent, and waving sea of 
human opinions, without restraint, and without any 
view; so soon as she loses this great and common 
road, she is bewildered in a labyrinth of a thousand 
several paths. Man cannot be anything but what 
he is, nor imagine beyond the reach of his capacity : 
Theridi- *f 'It 18 a greater presumption,*' says Plutarcn, " in 
Sf pretend-" t^^^ ^^ ^^^ "^^ meny to attempt to speak and 
ing to << discourse of the gods and demi-gods, than it is in 
br«»»^" a man, ignorant of music, to judge of singers'; or 
iriug him <c j,j ^ man, who never was in a camp, to. dispute 
^ "*"' ** about arms and martial afiairs, presuming, by 
^^ some light conjecture, to comprehend the effects 
**. of an art he is totally a stranger to." Antiquity, 
* 1 believe, thought to pass a compliment upon the 

Divinity, in assimilating it to man, investing it with 
. his fitculties, and adorning it with his humours, and 
more disparaging necessities ; offering it our aliments 
to eat, our dances, masquerades, and farces to di- 
vert it, our vestments to cover it, and our houses 
to dwell in ; caressing it with the odours of incense, 
and the sounds of music, besides garlands and nose- 
gays : and, to accommodate it to our vicious pas- 
sions, soothing its justice with inhuman vengeance, 
and supposing it delighted with the ruin and dissipa- 
tion of things by itself created and preserved : as 
Tiberius Sempronius, who caused the rich spoils and 
arms he had gained from the enemy in Sardinia to 
be burnt for a sacrifice to Vulcan : as did Paulus 
iEmilius those of Macedonia to Mars and Minerva. 
The gene. .So Alexander, arriving in the Indian ocean, threijir 
lai practice s^y^gjral great vessels ofgold into the sea in favour of 
rins'thTdi- Thetis ; and, moreover, loaded her altars with a 
^»^f>j..^y slaughtei?, not of innocent beasts only, but of men 
^atoitf also ; as several nations, and ours amongst the rest, 
were ordinarily used to do : and I believe there ia 
no nation thsit has not tried the experiment : 


Sulmone creatos ^ 

Quatuorhicjuuenesi totidemquoseducat Ufens^ 

yiventes rapity inferias quos immolet unwrisfi 

He took of youths, at Sulmo bom, four j : 

Of those at Ufens bred, as many more ; 

The whole alive, in most inhuman wise, ^ 

To offer to the god,- in sacrifice. 

The Getest hold themselves to be immortal, and^«oi«*« 
that their death is nothing but the beginning a jour.{J^Si«: 
ney towards their god Zamolxis. Once in five years 
they despatch one, from among them, to him, to 
entreat sonie necessaries of him ; which envoy is cho- 
sen by lot, and the form of despatching him, after 
having instructed him, by word of mouth, what he 
is to deliver, is, that three of the by-standers hold 
out so many javelins, against which the rest throw 
his body with all their force. If he happens to be 
wounded in a mortal part, and immediately dieSy 
they think it a sure argument of the divine favour; 
but if he escape, they think him wicked atid ac- 
cursed, and another is deputed, after the same mauT 
ner, in his stead. Amestris,1: the mother of Xerxes, 
being grown old, caused, at once^ fourteen young sacrifice 
men, of the best families of Persia, to be buried alive, I^^S^yoimg 
according to the religion of the country, to gratifif men. 
some infernal deity : and yet, to this day, the idow 
of Themixtiran are cemented with the blood of little 
children, and they delight in no sacrifice but of 
these pure and infantine souls ; a justice thirsty of 
the blood of innocents : 

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum,^ 
Such impious use wzs of religion made. 
Such dev'lish acts religion could persuade. 

The Carthaginians sacrificed their own children to 

* JEneid. lib. x. ver. 517, &c. ' + Herodot. lib. iv. p. 289. 

-^ She was the wife of Xerxes, who was bom of Atossa, daughter 
of Cyrus. Plutarch de Superstitione, cap. IS, et ilerodotus, |ib« 
vii. p. 477. 

j Luc« lib* i« ver. }0^ - 


Sw'Siu Saturn;, «od they who had none of their own, 
Sm iiLcri. bought of otiiers,* the &.tfaer and mother being, in 
J|JJ^^^*^the meaii time, obliged to assist at the ceremony. 
The Wba- with a gay and contented countenance. It was a 
mJ\n^ Strange fancy to gratify the divine bounty with our 
iM« of this affliction; like the LacedaBmonians, who regaled 
piAcuce. ^^^^ Diana with the tormenting of young boys^ 
^hoitf they caused' to be whipped,t for her sake, 
very often to death. It was a savage humour to 
' thkik to gratify the architect by the subversion of hilt 
building ; to seek to take away the punishment due 
to the guilty, by punishing the innocent; and to 
}9illgine9 that poor Iphigenia, at the port of Aulis, 
should, by her death, and by being sacrificed, mak« 
jBiati$facti<m to God for the crimes committed by the 
linny of th^ Greeks : 

Ei casta incests nulendi tempore in ipso 
Hostia concideret maciatu maesta parentis.X 
^ That the chaste virgin, in her nuptial band, 

Shoald die by an unnat'ral father s band. 

/Vnd that the two noble and generous souls of the 
two Pecii, the father and the son, to incline the fa- 
vour of the. gods to be propitious to the affairs of 
Rome, should throw themselves headlong into the 
thickest of the enemy. Qtut fuit tanta Deorum 
iniquitaSj ut placari populo Romano nan possent^ nisi 
tales viri accidissent ?§ " How great was the resentr 
** ment of the gods, th^t they could not be recon- 
** ciled to the people of Rome, unless such men 
^* perished ?*' To which may be added, that it is 
not in the criminal to cause himself to be scourged, 
according to his own measure, nor at his own time, 
but that It purely belongs to the judge ; who consi* 
4ers pothing as chastisements, but what he appoints; 
and cannot call that a punishment, which the suf^ 
ferer chooses. The divine vengeance presupposes 

* Plutarch, ibid. 

^ IdeiDi in the Notable Sayings oftht Lacediemonians* 

\ Lucn lib. i. rer. 99, 100* $ Cic, die Nat. Peor. lib. iii. cap. $, 


an absolute d»sent in us, bo& £roin its justice, mA 
our punishments ; smd therefore it was a ridiculoiis 
tumour of Pelycrates/ the tyrant of Samos ; who, 
to interrupt the continued course of his good fbi> 
tune, and to balance it, went and threw the dearest 
and most precious jewel he had into the sea; be- 
lieving, that, by this misfortune of his own procur« 
ing, he satisfied the revolution and vicissitude of for«> 
tune ; and she, to ridicule his folly, ordered it so, 
Idiat the Same jewel came again into his hands, being 
found in the belly of a fish. And then to what end 
are tllose tearings and dismemberings by the Cory- 
iiMites, the Menades, and in '6ttr times by the Maho* 
metans, who cut and slash their ftces^ bosoms, and 
tnembers, to gratify llieir prophet, fiA'asmucfa as the ^ 

offence lies in the will, not in the breast^ ^YWy gem- 
tals, beauty, the shoulders, or the throat r Tantta 
est perturbatiB mentis j et seiibm wis pulsi^y furovy 
ut sic Dii placentuvj quemadmodum ne homines qui- 
iem saviunt .-t ^^ So great id the iiury of troubled 
^ minds, when onc« cSsplaced fit>m the seat of rea^ 
^ son, as to think the gods should be i4)pease<^ 
^ with what even men are not so mad as to per* 
^ form.'' The use of this natural contexture has 
iftot only respect to us, but also to the service of 
Godj and other men. And it is as unjust to hurt it 
fyr our purpose, as to Idli ourselves upon any pre^ 
tence whatever* It seems to be great cowardica 
and treachery to exercise cruelty upon, and to de^ 
Mroy ^die functions of, the body, that are stupid and 
servile, in order to s^are the soul the trouble of gt>^ 
Veming them according to reason, U6i iratoJS Deoi^ - 
Hment^ qui sic pr^pitias habere merentur ? In regia 
4ibidims voluptatem castrati sunt quidam^ ^ed neiM 
sibij ne mr essetj jubente domino^ manus intu^: 
♦* How are they afraid of tlie anger of the gods, who 
^^ think to merit their fiivour at that rate ? Some^ i^ 

• Herdddt. lib. iii. p. 901 .209. 

t Dir. Aug. d9 Civitiite X>«i, Ubn vi^^p. ^^ 


" deedjhavebeenmadeeunuchsforthelustbfpriiices j 
^' but no man, at his master's command, has put 
" his own hand to unman himself:** so did they fill 
their religion with several ill effects : 

• Scepius olim 

Religio peperit scelerosa, atque impiajacta^* 

Too true it is, that oft in elder times 
Religious ze^l produe'd notorious crimes. 

Tiie folly Now nothing of ours can in any sort be compared 
of the*^ ^ or likened unto the diyine nature, which will not 
PJ^^^jJUlJ blemish it with much imperfection. How can that 
Srowi'acl infinite beauty, plower, and bounty, admit of any 
Mr'cSn-^^ correspondence, or similitude, to such abject things 
^ptioni. as we are, without extreme detriment and dishonour 
to his divine greatness ? Injirmum Dei fortius est 
hominibus ; et stultum Dei sapientitis est hominibus .-t 
^' For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and 
.** the weakness of God is stronger than men/' 
Stilpot the philosopher, being asked, whether the 
gods were delighted with our ^ lorations and sacri* 
nces: you are indiscreet, answered he, let us with- 
draw apart,. if you talk of such things. Neverthe- 
less, we prescribe him bounds, we keep his power 
besieged by our reasoning (I call our ravings and 
dreams reason, with the dispensation of philosophy, 
which says, both the fool and the knave run mad 
by reason j but by a particular form of reason), we 
endeavour to subject him to the vain and feeble apr 
pearances of our understandings; him, who has 
made both us and our knowledge. Because that 
^ nothing is made of nothing, God therefore could 
^ not make the world without matter. What, has 
God put into our hands the keys and most secret 
springs of his power ? Is he obliged not to exceed 
the limits of our knowledge ? Put the case, O man, 
tbat thou hast been ^ble here to mark some foot* 

* Lucret lib. i. ver. 83, 84. t ^ ^^^' ^' ^' 

i Diog. La^rU in the Life of Stilpb, lib. iu lec^. U7* 


Bteps.of his performance ; dost thou therefore think, 
that he has therein done all he could, and has 
crowded all his forms and ideas in this work ? Thou 
seest nothing, but the order and government of this 
little vault, m which thou art lodged, if thou dost 
see so much : whereas his divinity has an infinite ju- 
risdiction beyond : this part i^as nothing in compa* 
nson of the whole : ^ 

Omnia cum coeloj terraque morique^ • ^ 

Nil sunt ad summam summdt totius omnem.* 

T^e earth, the sea, and skie^, from pole to pole. 
Are small, nay nothing to the mighty whol«. 

It is a municipal law that thou allegest, thou 
Icnowest not what is the universal. Tie thyself to 
that to which thpu art subject, but not him ; he is not 
of thy brotherhood, thy feUow-citizqn, or compa* 
pion i if he has in some sort communicated himself 
unto thee, it is not to debase himself to thy littler 
ness, nor to make thee controller of his power. A 
human body cannot fly to the clouds : the sun runs 
every day his ordinary course without ever resting : 
the bounds of the sea and the earth cannot be con- 
founded; the water is unstable, and without firm- 
ness : a wall, ^unless it has^ breach in it, is impe* 
netrable to a solid body^aman cannot preserve oh ^' 
life in the flames ; he cannoFTBe both in neaven and - ^ - 
upon earth, and in a thousand places at once corpo- ' 
rall^ It is for thee, that he has made these regula- 
tions ; it is thee, that they concern. He has mani- 
fested to Christians, that he has exceeded them all,' 
whenever it pleased him. And, in truth, why. Al- 
mighty as he is, should he have limited his power 
wathin any certain measure ? In whose favour should 
he have renounced his privilege? Thy reason has in 
no other thing more of probability and foundation, 
than where it persuades thee that there is a plurality 
pf worlds: 

* Lqcret lib. vi. ver. 678, &c 

jTcfTttttt^lUB ct solertif htniaif- fuof^ CiBtefjOL was swff^ 
'Nm essB wika sed numero fMdguinmanermJ^ 

' Earth, ann^ akxio, sea, whate'er'a in apaoe's bomnL 
Hat jingle, but iDniuiiei^e were fooad. 

Thepianu T^ tnost eminent wits of the cMcr filmes believed 
iity of the it ; as do some of this age of ours, compelled by the 
7rwopir appearaHces of human reason: forasmuch as in diis 
»>«>• fabric, that we behold^ there is nodung ^hig^e and 

Cum in summa res nulla sit unOp 

Umca (jw^ gignatur : et unica solaqite crescai^f 
Since no production in this world below^ 
Without anoAer, can beget^ or grow. 

And that all the kinds are multiplied in some nam* 
htr ; by which it seems not to be likely, that God 
flidaM have made fliis work only without a compa:- 
nion, and that the matter of this form should have 
been totally drained in this sole individual : 

Quare etiam aique etiam tales Jateare necesse est^ 

Esse aRos alibi congressiis materias, 

Qualis hie est avido complexu quem tenet cether.X 

Tis neceSsaiy therefore to confess^ 
That there must elsewhere be the like congress v 
Of the 13ce matter, which the aiiy space 
H<dds iatt vnthin its Infiaite embrnce. 

Especially if it be a living creature, which its mo* 
tion^ render so credible, that Plato § affirms it^ and 
"that many of our people either confirm, or dare not 
deny it. No more than that ancient opinion, that 
the heavens, the stars, and other members of the 
world, are creatures composed of body and soul : 
mortal in respect of their composition, but immortal 
by the determination of the creator. Now if there 
be matiy worlds, as Democritiis, Epicurus, and 
almost all philosophy has believed, what do we 

♦ Lucret lib. ii. vcr. 1084. + Id. ibid, ver. 1076- 

% Id. ibid, vec 1063. J InbisTimseos, p,S27% 

tcifOfr, 'but that the prmciple and ruies at ikk dP 
ours Jnavin Ul^e. mtmner cooieera the rest? They , 
may peraaps have, another 6^*111, and another polity^ 
£plcurw * supposes them eithi^r Hke.or unlike. 

We see in this world ^ninfinite dtHerence and va^- Extmordu 
jiety acoordiug to the distanee of places. Neither ^j/IJ^t" 
the coroi wioe, nor aay of our animals «re to be seen tween tb^ 
in that new comer of the* worid discovered by our Jll^^tto 
Others; it is all there another thing« And, inwtiu ,r 
times past, do but consider in how many carts of the 
world they had no knowledge either of Bacchus or . 
Ceres. If Pliny or Herodotus are to be believed, 
there arrth certain places a kind cST inen very little 
r^^embling us.t And there are mongrel and ambi- ' 
mious fi>rms, between the human and brutal naturesu 
There are countries, where men are bom without / 
lieads, having their mouth and eyes in their breast :t '^"^ 
where they are all hermaphrodites ; where they go 
on all four ; where they have but one eye in tiieir 
forehead, and a head more like a d(^ than one c£ 
us : I where they are half fish the lower part, and 
live in the water : where the women bear at five years 
old, and live but eight :|| where the head and slun oF 
the forehead are so hard, that a sword will not touch 
them, but reboundi^ again: where men have no 
beards: nations that know not the use of fire, and . 
others that eject seed of a, black What shall -^ 
'we say of those that naturally** change themselves 

: * Diog. Laert. in^the Life of EpicurtiSy lib. x. sect 85. 

f Herod, lib. iv, p. S24>y where are said to be some with heads lik^ 
those of dogs. 
. :( Plin. NaL Hist. lib. viii. cap. 2. He took those ftr a sort of apes. 

§ Herpd. lib. iii. p. ^2S^p 

II Pliiu Nat. Hist, lib.' vi. cap. 36^ ei Kb; vii. cap. ^ 

f Herod, lib. iii. p. 2^ A very able anatomist has assured mt 
that this is fidse. 
> ** Here Montaigne seems hot tb haife rightly atttended to his ; 
Pliny, who says, trat a person who can be persuaided that men were ' ^/ 
ever metamorphosed into wolves, and afterwards into men again» 
will be ready to give his credit to all the fables that have been in- '\ 
yented for so many ages past. Pliny,, having there qupted some 
itories of suchpreten(fed metamorphoses, cries outi It is 



into wolves, mares, and then into men again ? and if 
it be true, as Plutarch* says, that, in some place of 
the Indies, there are men without mouths, who nou« 
rish themselves with the smeU of certain odours, how 
many of our descriptions are false? man is no more 
risible, nor, perhaps, capable of reason and society. 
The disposition and cause of our internal structure 
would for the most part be to no purpose, 
ifanj Moreover, how many things are there in our own 

JI|J"JJ^^"^„. knowledge, that oppose those fine rules we have cut 
tiary to the out for, and prescribe to nature ? Yet we undertake 
£m Jr^ to reduce God himself to them ! how many thinw do 
Kribjsji to we call miraculous and contrary to nature ? This is 
done by every nation, and by every man, in propor- 
tion to their share of ignorance. How many occult 
properties and quintessences do we discover? For 
our going according to nature is no more than going 
according to what we understand, as far as that ia 
able to follow, and as far as we see into it : all be^ 
yond is monstrous and irregular. Now, by this ac- 
count, all things will be monstrous to the wisest and 
most understanding men ; since human reason has 
persuaded th6m, that it had no manner of ground or 
foundation, not so much as to be sure that snow is 
white : for Anaxagoras afiirmed it to be black ;t if 
there be any thing, or if there be nothing; whether 
we know, or do not know ; which Metrodorus Chius 
denied that man was able to determine : or whether we 
live, as Euripides doubts, whether the life we live is 
life, or whether that be not life, which we call death : 

ing, how far the Greeks have extended their credulity. There is no 
lie ever so hnpudent that wants a witness to prove it. Pliny, lib« 
viii. cap. 22. 

* I cannot find the passage in Plutarch firom whence Montaigne 
took ibis : but Pliny, in his Nat. Hist. lib. vii. cap 2, relates that at 
the extremity of the Indies, near the source of the Ganges, there is 
a nation of Astomes, i.e. a people without mouths, all whose bodies 
are covered wit)i a shag hair, and dressed in the down of leaves, and 
who live only by the scents they draw in through their nostrils. 

f Cic, Acad. Qusest. lib. iv. cap, 23. Sextus Empiricud also puts 
Metrodorus of Chios in the number of Sceptics. Bi in a^tin^tn iT^timf^ 

1« * 


Who knows if life been't that which we call death, ( 
And death the state in which we draw our bveath? ( 

And not without some appearance. For why do wt 
from this instant derive the title of being, which h 
but a flash of lightning in the infinite course bf an 
eternal night, and so short an interruption of our per* 
petual and natural condition ? Death possessing all 
that passed before, and all the future of this moment, 
and also a good part of the moment itself.t Others 
swear there is no m<$tion at all, as the followers of 
M^lissus, and that nothing stirs. For, if there t)e Motion rf 
but one, neither can that spherical motion be of any^',JS^^ 
use to him, nor the motion from one place to ano- 
' ther, as Plato prpves^ that there is neither genera- 
tion nor corruption in nature, Protagoras t says, that 
there is nothing in nature but doubt : that a man 
may equally dispute of all things; and even of this, 
whether a man may equally dispute of all things: 
Mansiphanes,§ that, of things which seem to be, no* 
thing IS more than it is not : that there is nothing cer« 
tain but uncertainty. Parmenides,|| that of all which 

* Plato in his Gorgias, p. SCO, Diog. Laert. in the Life of Pjnrrho^ 
lib. ix. 8ect.73y and Sextus EmpiricuSy Pyrrh. Hypot. lib. iii. cap: 
24*9 quote these verses differently from themselves, and what thej 
are here ; and yet there is no real difference in the sense. 

f Diog. Laert. in the Life of Melissus, lib. ix. sect. 24. 

t Diog. Laert in the Life of Protagoras, lib. ix. sect. 51; ^ Were 
** I to believe Protagoras/' savs Seneca, ** there is nothing in the 
" nature of things but what is ooubtful." £p. 88. 

§ This must certainly be a mistake of the press, for Nausiphanes, 
who was a disciple and follower of Pyrrho, as such must maintain; 
that there was nothing certain but uncertainty ; and this is what 
Montaigne would undoubtedly have us here understand, according 
to the report of Seneca, who sajrs expressly, ** Were I to bdlieve 
<c Nausiphanes, the only one thing certain is, that there is nothing 
« certain." Ep.88. ^^ ^- . vWv\ v» c. . • -. - 

II " Unum esse omnia." This opinion which Cicero^ in Quaest; 
AcieuL lib. iv. cap. 37* attributes to Xenophanes, was also that 
of Pannenides, a dim^iple of Xenophanes, if we may believe Aris- 
totlCf who says, )ib» i. Metaphys. cap. 5* that Pannenides really 
believed there was but one single bemg, but that to serve appear* 

174 'klf A'P6t6Gt fM ' 

seems, there is no one thmg in gmetsii tliat thertf 

13 but one thing. Zeno,* Siat there is nothing. If* 

there were one things it woiild either be in another, or 

in itself. If it be in another, tfeeyare tti*ro: if it be in 

itself^ they are yet two i the cooapirehending and the 

comprehended. According to these doctrines, the na^ 

ture of things is no other than a shadow, eitl^ false 

or vain. 

Tbedivine For a Christian to talk after this manner I always 

w%htnoi thought very indiscreet and irreverent, God cannot 

to be su^ (fie ; God cannot contradict himself; God cannot do 

•£i« of our ^^i Of *^- I do not like to have the Divine Power 

ifeech. SO lunitcd by the rules of o«ir speech* And the a^ 

pearance which presents itself to us in these propo* 

sitions,. ought to be represented more rehgionsiy and 


Bamu Our speech has its failing and defects^ as well as 

w'^'c-^ thereat. Grammar is that which creates most 

|Ure. ^ ^ oisturbance in the world. Our suits only i^pidng 

from the intei^etation of laws : and most wars ftOf- 

eeed flrom the mability of ministers clearly to expre^ 

th^ conventions and treaties of princes. How many 

quarreisy. and of how ^eat importance, has the doubt 

of the' meaning of this syllable hoc created in the 

^orld? let us admit the conclusion that logic itself 

ftfesents us with to be the clearest. If you si^, it is 

sir weather, and that you say true, it is then fau* weti- 

ther. Id not this a very certain form of speaking i 

And yet it will deceive us : that it wfll do so, let us 

jB^Uow the example. If you say, you he^ and th4 

rli» admitted of two ptinciplesy boat and cold. I have tlii» last 
yiolatioa from the tnmalator or Cic« de Natura DeonuDy torn. Hi tf« 
f76» Were I to believe Phnneiiidesy ai^ Senecily ep. 88» there » 
fkothittg but one thing. And probably from hence it wa» that M otf- 
laJMe took what he tells us here of raTmenides. 

* *this Zeno must be the Zeno of Eleus, th^ disciple of Tmeta^ 
liidea. The PyrrhonidM reckoned' him oiie of their sect* Dlog. 
I^aerL in the. Life of Pyn^ho, Ub. ix. sect 72. Mmta^fle have has 
alto copied S•necl^ ep. 88) where after these words^ ** WeDT 1 1» 
^' believe Panneilides» there is nothing besides one/* ho addvis 
4«ately, **. iff Zeaoy thetfe is nol so much as oatt.*^ 

yoit say true, then you do lie* The art, the reasOii; 
and toe force of the conclusion of this, are like ta 
die other, and yet we are gravelled. 

The Pyrrhoniaii philosophers, IdiscerB,€annotex-Th«Pyr- 
press their general conception in any manner, ^^^^i^^for'^ 
they absohi^ly secpiire a new language on purpose, wordi ca- 
Ottrs is all; formed of affirnaative propositions, which J^*"^*^^^ 
are totally against them. Insomuch that when they in^ their 
say, I doubt, they are presently taken by the throat, to"^"***^ 
make them coniess^ that at least they know and are 
assured that they do doubt. By which means they 
have been compelled to shelter themselves under this 
medicinal cmnparison, without which their humour 
would be inexplicable. When they pr onounce^ I 
know not ; or, I doubt ; they say that this proposi-* 
tion carries off itself, with the rest, tiot more nor 
less than rhubarb,* that drives out the ill humours^ 
and carries itself off with them. This fancy is better 

conceived by the interrogation : what do I know ? 

(as I bear it in the emblem of a balance).! See what 
use they make of this irreverent way of speaking. 
In t3ie present disputes about our religion, t if you 
press its adversaries too hard, they will roun^y tell 
you, that it is not in the po^ver of God to make it 
so, that his body should be in paradise, and upon 
earth, and in several places at once. And see what 
advantage the ancient scoffer made of this. How- 
ever, says he, it is no little consolation to man to 
see that Crod cannot do all things : for he cannot 
kill himself, if he. would : which is the greatest pri- 
vilege we have in such a painful life : he cannot 
make mortals immortal, nor bring the de^ad again to 
life : nor make it so, that he who has lived, has not f 
nor that he, who has had honours, has not had 

• This 18 exactly the comparison which the Pyrriionians were ad'- 
customed to make use of. 

f This appears in Montajene^s pidtore, which is the frontispiece 
df the first viriume of thes^ Essi^ 

X This refers to what is said in theprecedisgpagei that God caa« 
Aoti do this or that 

tyfl An ApoLOcSt Fd* 

them, having no other right to the past, th^ tliat of 
oblivion,* And that this comparison of a man to 
God may also be made out by pleasant examples, he 
cannot order it so, he says, that twice ten shall not 
be twenty. This is ^hat he says, and what a Christ 
tian oughtto take heed of letting fall from his lips. - 
Whereas on the contrary, it seems as if some men. 
studied such impudent language, to reduce God to 
their own measure ; 

Cras v^t atrd 

Nube polum pater occvpatOj 
Vel sole puro, non tanien irritnm 
Quadcumque retro est, efficiet : nequ€ 
Diffingety'infectumque rtddet^ 
Qitodfugiens seniethora vexit.i 

To-morrow, let it shine or rain. 
Yet cannot this the past make vain ; 
Nor ancreate and render void, 
That which was yesterday enjoy'd.J 

When we say, that the infinity of aces, as well past 
as to come, are but one instant with God : that his 
bounty, wisdom, and power are the same with his 
essence : our mouths speak it, but our understand- 
ings apprehend it not : and yet such is our vain opi- 
nion of ourselves, that we must make the divinity 
pass through oiu* sieve ; from thence proceed all the 
dreams and errors with which the world is possessed, 
whilst we reduce and weigh in our balance a thing so 
fer above our poise. Mirum qud procedat improbitM 
cordis humanij parvulo aliquo invitata successu ;§ " It 
** is a wonder to what a length the .pride of man's 
*^ heart will proceed, if encouraged with the least 
*' success." How insolently is Epicurus reproved 
by the Stoics for maintaining, that to be truly good 
and happy appertained only to God, and that the 
wise man had nothing but a shadow and resemblance 

* Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. cap. 7. 

f Horkt. Carm. lib. iii. od. 29, ver. 4Sy Sec* 

X Sir Richard Fanshaw. 

§ Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. iL cap. 23, 



of it ? How presumptuously have they bound God 
by destiny (a thing, that, with my consent, none, iihey deny 
thai bears the name of a Christian, should ever da|^j^*Jy2, 
again); and Thales, Plato, and Pythagoras, haveu. 
subjected him to necessity. This arrogance of at« 
tempting to discover God with our eyes, has been 
the cause, that an eminent perison, of our nation, 
has attributed to the divinity a corporeal form ; and 
is the reason, of what happens among us every day, 
of attributing to God important events, by a parti- 
cular appointment : because they sway with us, they 
conclude that they also sway with him, and that he 
has a more entire and vigilant- regard to them than 
to others of less moment, or ..of . ordinary course. 
Magna Dii curant^ paroa negligunt :* " The gods 
^' are concerned in ^eat matters, but shght-the 
" small.'' Observe his example, he will clear this 
to you by his argument : Nee in regnis quidem reges 
amma curant : *^ Neither, indeed, ' do kings, in their / 
" administration, take notice of all die minute af. j 
** fidrs.'* As if to that King of kings it were more 
and less to subvert a kingdom, or to move the leaf 
of a tree : or as if his Providence acted after another 
manner in inclining the event of a battle, than in the 
leap of a flea. The hand of his government is laid. 
Upon every thing, after the same manner, with the 
same tenor, power, and order: our interest does 
nothing towards it ; our inclinations and measures, 
sway nothing with him. Dew ita artifex magnus in 
fnagnisj ut minor nonsit inparvis ;t " God is^so great 
** an artificer in great things, that he is no less in 
^' the least." Our arrogance sets this blasphemous 
comparison ever before us : because our employ- 
ments are a burden to us, Strato has presented the 
gods with a freedom from all offices, as their priests 
have. He makes nature produce and support all 
things, aad with her weights, and motions constructs 

* Cic de Nat Deor. lib. ii. cap. 66 f et lib. iii. cap. S£. 
t Sl Auguitins de Civitate Dei, lib. xi. cap. 22. 
VOJ-. II. N 


the several parts of the world, discharging humm 
nature from the awe of divine judgments, asserting^ 
Quod beatuniy rEternumque sitj id 7iec habere negotii 
qutcquaniy nee exibere alteri ;* " That what is blessed 
" and eternal, has neither any business itself, nor 
** gives any to another." Nature wills, that in like 
things there should be a like relation : the infinite 
number of mortals, therefore, concludes a like 
number of immortals ; the infinite things that kill 
and destroy, presuppose as many that preserve and 
profit. As the souls of the gods, without tongue^ eyes, 
drears, do, every one of them, feel, amongst them- 
itelves, what the other feel, and judge our thoughts ; 
so the souls of men, when at liberty, and loosed 
from the body, either by sleep, or some ecstasy, di- 
vine, foretel, and see things, which, whilst joined 
to th6 body, they could not. " Men,** says St. Paul, \ 
^ professing them to be wise, they became fools, ) 
•* and changed the glory of the incorruptible God . 
** into an image made like to corruptible man."t>' 
Do but take notice of the juggling in the ancient 
deifica;tions. After the great and stately pomp of 
the funeraljt so soon as the fire began to mount to 
the top of the pyramid, and to catch hold of the 
bier whereon the body lay, they, at the same time, 
let fly an eagle, which, mounting upward, signified, 
that the soul ascended into paradise. We have a 
thousand medals, and particularly of that virtuous 
Faustina, where this eagle is represented carrying 
these deified souls, with their heels upwards, towards 
heaven. It is pity that we should fool ourselves 
with otir own monkey tricks and inventions : 

Quodjinacere timent.^ 

They are afraid of their own inventions. 

Like children who are frightened with the iace oS 
their play-fellow, which they themselves liave b«- 

* Cic. de Nat Deor. lib. i. cap. 17. t I^^»^- >• 22, 23. 

X Herodian. Ul}. iv, ^ Lmowd. lib i. ver. 486. 


smeared. Quasi quicquam hifeticius sU homines cui 
suajigmenta dominantur* " As if dny thing could be 
^^ more unhappy than man, who is insulted by hi^ own 
" fictions/' It is very far from honojuring him who 
made us, to honour him that we have made. Augustus 
had more temples than Jupiter, served with as n^uch 
religion, and faith in miracles. The Thasians, in 
return of the benefits they had received from Age- 
silaus, coming to bring him word that they had 
canonised him : " Has your nation,"* said, be to 
them, " that power to make gods of whom they 
'> please ? Pray, first deify some one amongst your- * 

^^ selves, and when I shall see what advantage he 
^* has by \t^ I will thank you for your oflfer.'* Mau 
is certainly stark mad ; he cannot make a fiea^ and , 
yet gods by dozens. Hear what Trismeglstus says, f! ., 
in praise of our sufficiency : " Of all the wonderful ' 

** things, it surmounts all wonder, that man could 
•* find out the divine nature, and make it.**^ And ' 
take here the arguments of the school of philosophy 

Nosse cm Divosj et cceli numina, soliy 
Aut soli nescire datum.f 

To whom to know the deities of heav'n, 

Or know he knows them not, alone 'tis gi^n. 

^* If there is a God, he is a living creature ; if he 
" be a living creature, he has sense; aaid, if he has 
" sense, he is subject to corruption -/if he be with- ^ 
" out a body, he is without a souly^d conse- ' - 
" quently without action ; and if he 1ms a body, it i * ^^ ^ 
" 18 perishable. "t Is not here a triumph ? We are ' 

incapable of having made the world, there must 
then be some more excellent nature, that has put a 
hand to the work. It w^ere a foolish arrogance to 
esteem ourselves the most perfect thing of this uni- 
verse. There must then be something that is better, 

* Plutarch, in the Notable Sayings of the Lacedaemonians. 
f Lucan. lib. i. ver. 4f52f &c. 
f Cic. de Nat; Deor. lib. iii. cap. li, 14. 


CO'- ^ 


and this is God.* When you see a stately and sftf* 
pendous edifice, though you do not know who is the 
owner of it, you would yet conclude it was not 
vmTtfk built for rats and weasels.t And this divine struc- 
£^[* ^*" ture that we behold of the celestial palace, have w€f 
tiot reason to believe that it is the residence of some 

arietor, who is much greater than we ? Is not the 
est always the most worthy? And we are' the? 
lowest. Nothing without a soul, and without 
reason, can produce a living creature capable of 
reason.t The world produces usi the world then 
has soul and reason. § Every part of us is less than 
we. We are part of the world, the world therefore 
is endued with wisdom and reason, and that more 
abundantly than we. II It is a fine thing to have a 
The gd. great government. The government of the world 
If^T"* then appertains to some happy nature. The stars 
world. do us no harm, they are then bountiful. We have 
need of nourishment, so have the gods also, and 
feed upon the vapours of the earth.^ Worldly goods 
are not goods to God, therefore they are not goods 
to us ; offending and being offended, are equally tes« 
timonies of imbecility : it is therefore folly to fear 
God. God is good by his nature, man by his in- 
dustry, which is more. Tlie divine and human wis- 
dom have no other distinction, but that the first ia 
eternal. But duration is no accession to wisdom, 
therefore we are companions. We have life, reason, 
and liberty ; we esteem bounty, charity, and jus- 
tice; these qualities are in him. In fine, the build- 
ing and destroying, and the conditions of the divi- 
nity, are forged by man, according as they relate 
to himself. What a pattern, and what a model ! let 
lis stretch, let us raise and swell human qualities as 
much as we please : puff up thyself, vain man, yet 
more, and more, and more : 

^ Cic de Nat. Deor« lib« iL c^. 6. f I^em^ ibid. 

i Idem, ibid. cap. 8. f Idem, ibid. cap. 18. 

i Idem, ibid. cap. 11. f Idem, ibid. cap. 16. 

RAISfONf) D£ S&BONDE. .191 

Nec si (e ruperisy inquiL* 

Swell even till thou burst, said he^ 
Thou shalt not match the deity. 

Profectd non Deunij qiiem cogitare non possunty 
sed semetipsos pro illo cogitantes ; non illum^ sed 
^eipsosj non iUi^ sed sihi comparant.f ** Certaihly 
" they do not imagine God, of whom they can have 
^* no idea ; but, imagining themselves in his stead, 
"they do not compare him, but themselves, not to 
" him, but to themselves." In natural things the 
effects do but half relate to their causes : how is this? 
His condition is above the order of nature, too 
sublime, too remote, and too mi^ty to permit him- 
self to be bound and fettered by our conclusions. 
It is not through ourselves that we arrive at that 
places our ways lie too low : we are no nearer hea- 
ven on the top of mount Cenis, than in the bottom 
0f the sea ; take the distance with your astrolabe : 
they debase God even to the carnal knowledge of 
women, even to how many times, and how many 
generations. Paulina, the wife of Satuminus, a ma- 
tron of great reputation at Rome, thinking she lay 
with the god Serapist, found herself in the arms of 
an amoroso of hers through the pandarism of the 
priests «f his temple. Varro, the most subtle and 
most learned of ail the Latin authors,§ in his book 
of Theology, writes, " That the sexton of Hercules's 
" temple, throwing dice with one hand for himself, 
" and with the other for Hercules, played with him 
** for a supper and a whore : if he won, at the ex- 
" pense of the offerings; if he lost, at his own : the 
" sexton lost, and paid the supper and the whore : 
^* her name was Laurentina, who saw, by night, this 
^ god in her arms } by whom she was told, more- 

* Hor. lib. iL sat. 8».ver. j319. 
f St. Augustine de CivlL Dei, lib. xii. ci^. 15. 
^ Or Anubisy according to Josephus's Jewish Anti^uitiei^ 
Ui>. XTijL cap. 4y where this stoiy is related at length. - 
^ St. Augystine de Civit. Dei, lib. yL cap. 7* 


" over, that the first man she met, the next day, 
** should give her a glorious reward : this was Taru- 
" nicus,* a rich young man, who took her home 
** to his house, and. m time, kft.her his heiress. 
*' She, on the other hand^ thinking to dp a thing 
" that would \)e pleasing, to this god, left the peo^ 
^* pie of Rome her heirs, and therefore had divine 
*• honours attributed to her/' As if it had not been 
sufficient that Plq-to was originally descended from 
the gods, both by father and mother, and that he 
had Neptune for the common father of his race.t 
It was certainly believed at Athens^ that ** Aristo, 
** having a mind to enjoy the fair Perictione, could 
" not, and was warned by the god Apollo, in a 
" dres^, to leave her unpolluted and untouched till 
*' she was brought to bed/*t . These were the father 
and mother of Plato. How many ridiculous stories 
are there of like cuckoldings of poor mortals by the 
gods ? And of husbands injuriously disgraced in fa- 
vour of their children ? In the Mahometan religion 
there ' are Merlins enough according to the belief of 
the people, that is^ to say, children without fathers, 
spiritual, divinely conceived in the wombs of vir- 
Nothing gins ; and they carry names that signify so much in 
maian? their language. We are to observe, that, tp every 
beast is thing, nothing is more dear and estimable than its 
thanlLspc- ^^^"? (the lion, the eagle, and the dolphin, prizci 
cies. nothing above their own kind), and that each assimi- 
lates the qualities of all other things to its own pro* 
per qualities, which we may,^ indeed, extend or 
contract, but that is all ; for beyond that relation 
and principle our imagination cannot go^ can guess 

* Or Tarutius, according to St. Aucustme: but according to Plu-* 
tarch, who relates the same story in the life of Romulus, the first 
man who met Larcntia (as he calls her) was one Tarrutius, a very 
old mnn, chap. 3 of Amyot's translation. 

t Diogenes I*aertius, in the Life of Plato, lib. iii. sect. 2. • 
j It is affirmed, for certain, that Apollo appeared, in a vision by 
night, to Ariston, and forbade him to touch his wife for ten months. 
Plutarch, in his Table-talk, lib. viii. qu. 1. 


at nothing dse, nor possibly go out thence, or - 

stretch beyond it. From hence spring these ancient ^ 

conclusions ; ^^ Of all %ures, the most beautiful is 

*' that of man ; therefore God must be of that 

^* form: no one can be happy without virtue, nof 

'* can virtue be without reason, and reason cannot 

*^ inhabit any where but in a human shape ; God is 

'' therefore clothed in the human figure."* Ita est 

informatuniy anficipatumque mentibus. nostris^ vt 

hommij quum de Deo cogitet^ forma occurrat hu^ 

mana :t *^ It is so imprinted in our minds, and 

" the fancy is so prepossessed with it, that when a 

** man thinks of God, a human figure ever presents 

** itself to the imagination." Therefore it was, that 

Xenophanes pleasantly said, " That if beasts 

" frame any gods to themselves, as it is likely they 

** do, they certainly make them such as themselves 

" are, and glorify themselves in it, as we do."t For 

why may not a goose say thus, "AH the parts of 

*' the universe I have an interest in ; the earth serves 

*' me to walk upon, the sun to light me, the stars 

*' have their influence upon me : I have such advan- 

" tage by the winds, and such conveniences . by the 

" waters: there is nothing that yonder heavenly 

** roof looks upon so favourably as me : I am the 

** darling of nature. Is it not a man that treats, 

" lodges, and serves me ? It is for me that he both 

" sows and grinds : if he eats me, he does the same 

" by his fellow-creature, and so do I the worms that 

" kill and devour him." As much might be said 

by a crane, and with greater confidence, upon the 

account of the freedom of his flight, and the posses* 

sion of that sublime and beautiful region. Tarn 

blanda conciliatrLi\ et tarn mi est lena ipsa mtura.% 

*' So flattering and wheedling a baw^d is nature to 

" herself." Now therefore, by the same consequence, MmninuH 

the destinies ajre for us; for us is the world; itfi!^^^ 

♦ Cic. de NaL Deor. lib. i. cap. 18. f Idem, ibid. cap. 27. 

\ Euseb. Evang. Prep. Hb. xiii. cap. 13. $ Idem, ibid. cap. 27«* 


was made shitics, it tliunders for us ; and the creHtor imd tre^ 
for him. ^^ ^^ jj £^j. ^g » rpj^g ^^j^ ^^j p^jjj^ ^^ which 

the universality of things aims is this. Look into 
the register that philosophy has kept, for two thon- 
satd years and more, oi the afiairs of heaven : the 
gods all that while hav« neither acted nor s^niken 
but for man: she does not aUow tlvsm any other 
consultation or vacation. But here we find them in 
war against us: 

Domifosqtie Heradea manu 

Tellurls juvcnesy unde periculum 
Fulgens cmifrenmit domiis 
Salumi veteris t 

Earth's brawny offspring, conquered by the hand 
Of great Alcides on the Thracian strand, 
. ' Where the rude shock did such a rattle make. 
As made old Saturn's sliining palace shake. 

TheKodsfu And hcrc we see them participate of our troubles, 
^Siri^is^f *^ make a return for our having so often shared in 
mortals, theirs: 

Nepltmm muros magnSque emota tridenti 
fmidameniu qtuitity totdmque a sedilms nrhem 
Emit : Hie Juno Saea scevissima portas 
Prima ienet.X'^ — 
Neptune his massy trident did employ. 
With which he shook tlie walls of mighty Troy, 
And the whole city from its platform threw ; 
Whilst to the Scsean gates the Grsecians flew. 
Which Juno bad set open to their view. 

stranf^e The Gaunians, jealous of the authority of their 
f wUrf*" *^^" peculiar gods, arm themselves on the days of 
their devotion, and run all about their precincts, fu- 
riously brandishing their swords in the air, by that 
means to drive away all strange gods out of their 
Power of territory. S Their powers are limited, according to 

^ I have knotvn some divines, who laid down this principle for an 
article of faith, and ready to pronounce their anathemas against any 
who dared to (question it. 

f Hor. lib. ii. ode 12, ver. 6,. &c J .^n. lib. ii. ver. 610. 
'§ Herodot. lib* i. pag. 79. < 


t>ur necessity. This cures horses, that cure^ men ; onethe gods \u 
cures the i^gue, another the scurf; this the phthisic ;^^j^*' 
one cures one sort of scurvy, another another ;thiQgsj 
Aded minimis etiam rebus prava religio inserit Deos :* 
*^ So fond is a false religion to create gods for the 
^' meanest uses : one makes the grapes to grow, ano- 
** ther garlick/' This has the presidence over lech- 
ery, there is another over merchandise; for every 
race of artizans there is a god : one has his province 
in the east, another in the west : 

Hie illiiis arma , — Hie cturusfuit.f 

Mere lay her armour; here her chariot stooA 

sancie Apollo^ qui umbilicum cerium terrarum obtines.t . 

O sacred Phcebtis, who, with glorious ray, 

From the earth's centre dost thy light display. 

Pallada Cecropidce^ Minoia Creta Dianam, 

Fulcanum tellus Hipsipykpa colit. 
Junonem Spartey Pelopetadesque MycencBj 

Pinigerum Fauni Mcsnalis era caput y 
Mars Latio venerandus.% 

Th' Athenians Pallas, Cynthia Crete adores, 
Vulcan is worshipped on the Lcmnian shores ; 
Proud Juno's altars are by Spartans fed, 
Th' Arcadians worship Faunus ; and 'tis said 
To Mars by Italy is homage paid. 

This has only one town, or one family in his posses^ 
sion : one lives alone, another in company, either vo- 
luntarily, or from necessity : 

Jimciaque sunt magno templa nepolis avo,\\ 
Jove and his grandscm in the same temple dwell. 

There are some so wretched and mean (for tbes^rry, tbi. 
number amounts to six and thirty thousand), tnat they k*"^ deitua. 
must pack five or six together, to produce one ear of 
corn, imd thence they take their several names. Three 
to the door, viz. one to the plank, one to the hinge; 
and one to the threshold. Four to an in&nt ; pro- 

♦ Livy, Kb. xxvii. cap. €3. f Mn. lib. i. ver. 20, 21. 

X Cic. de Divin. lib. ii. cap. 56, § Ovid. Fast. lib. liL ver. 81, &c. 

II Idem, ibid. lib. 1. ver. 294. 


lectors of its swathing-clouts, its pap, and the breasts 
which it sucks. Some certain, some uncertain and 
doubtful, and some that are not yet entered paradise: 

Quos, quoniam casli noniitm dignamiir honorey 
T)uas aedimus ccrte terras babitare sinamus* 

Whom, since we yet not worthy think of heav'n, 
We suffer to possess the earth we've giv'n. 

There are. amongst tliem physicians, poets, and civil 
deities. Some middle ones, between the divine and 
human nature, mediators between God and us, adored 
with a diminutive sort of worship : infinite in titles 
and offices : some good, and others ill ; some old and 
decrepid, and some that are mortal. For Chrysip- 
pust was of opinion, that, in the last conflagratioh of 
the world, all the gods were to die but Jupiter : and 
makes a thousand similitudes between God* and him. 
Is he not liis counti^^man ? 

Javis incunabula Creten.X 
Crete noted fur Jupiter's cradle. 

Tim is the excuse we have uppn consideration of 
this subject, from Scaevola, a high-priest, and Varro, 
a great divine, in their times : ^' That it is necessary 
" for the people to be ignorant of many things that 
** ai'e true, and believe many things that are false./' 
Quum vcritatem, qua Hbcratur^ inqnirat : crcdatw hi 
e.vpcdire, (juodjallitur :% " Seeing he inquires intQ 
" the truth, by which he would be made free, it is 
" fit he should be deceived." Human eyes cannot 
perceive things, but by the forms they know of them. 
And we do not remember what a fall poor Phaeton 
had, for attempting to govern the reins of his father'a 
horses with a mortal hand. The mind of man fallsi 
into as great a profundity, and is after the same 
manner bruised and shattered by its own temerity, 

* Ovid. Mctam. lib. i. fab. 6, ver. 32, 33. 
f Plutarch of Common Conceptions, chap. 27. 
X Ovid. Met, lib. viii. fab. 1, ver. 91. 
J Civit. Dei, lib. iv. cap. 31. 


If you ask philosophy of what matter the siin is 
made ? What answer will she return, -if not that it 
is iron or stone, or some other matter that She makes 
use of? If a man require of Zeno, " wliat nature is?** 
" An artificial firCy" says he, " proper for generation, 
** and regularly proceeding.*** Archimedes, mas- 
ter of that science, which attributes to itsdf the 
precedency before all others, for truth and certainty, 
says, the sun is a god of red-hot iron. Was not this 
a fine imagination, extracted from the inevitable 
necessity of geometrical demonstration ? Yet not so f^eotn«-<ry ; 
inevitable and profitable, but that Socrates thought ll^J^ui^ ' 
it was enough to know so much of geometry only, 
as to measure the land a man bought or sold ;t and 
that Polyaenus, who had been a great and famous 
master in it, despised it, as full of falsity and mani- 
fest vanity,! afler he had once tasted the delicate 
gardens of Epicurus. Socrates, in Xenophon, speak-: 
ing of Anaxagoras, reputed by antiquity leame<l 
above all others in celestial and divine matters, says, 
" That he had crocked his brain, as all other men 
" do, who too immoderately searcli into knowledge 
" of things which do not appertain to them.*'§ When 
he made the sun to be a burning stone, he did not 
consider that a stone does not shine in the fire ; and, 
which is worse, that it will there consume. And 
in making the sun and fire one, that fire || does not 
turn complexions black in shining upon them : 
that we are able to look steadily upon fire : and that 
fire kills herbs and plants. It is Socrates's opinion, 
and mine too, " That it is the best judgment con- 

♦ Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. ii. ver. 42. 

f Xenophon. Mirabiliuni, lib. iv. sect. 7, cap. 2. 

% Cic. Acad. Quscst. lib. iv. cap. 33. § Id. ibid, cnp.6, 7. 

II Socrates was no great natural philosopher, if wc may judge by 
what he says of fire, in opposition to the sun : for who docs not 
know that fire will blacken the skin of any person, that should stay 
long very near it: that at a very small distance, one cannot look > 
upon it fixedly ; and that, at a proper distance, instead of killing 
berbs and plants, it nourishes them. 


** cerning heaven, not to judge of it at all." Plato, 
having occasion in his Timceus, to speak of ds^ 
mons : " This undertaking, says he, exceeds my 
*' ability. We are therefore to believe those an- 
" cients, who have pretended to have been be- 
** gotten by them/' It is against all reason to dis- 
believe the children of the gods, though what they 
say should not be proved by necessary or probable 
reasons ; seeing they engage to speak of domestic 
The ram of and &miliar things. Let us see if we have a little 
oor know- more light in the knowledge of humah and natural 
tarfkhio^' things. Is it not a ridiculous attempt for us to forge 
for those things, to which, by our own confession, 
our knowledge is not able to attain, another body, 
and to lend a false form of our own invention ? as is 
manifest in the motion of the planets ; to which, see- 
ing our understanding cannot possibly attain, nor 
conceive their natural conduct, .we lend them mate- 
rial, heavy, and substantial springs of our own, by 
which to move:* 

Aureus axis eraty temo aureus, azirea summeB 
Curvatura rotce, radionim argenieus ordo.f 

Gold was the aide, and the beam was gold ; 

The wheels with silver spokes on golden circles roll'd. 

You would swear, that we had coach-makers, 
wheel-wrights, and painters, that went aloft to erect 
engines of various motions, and to range the car- 
ris^es and intersections of the heavenly bodies of 
different colours about the spindle of necessity, ac- 
cording to Plato : 

* Montaigne will tell us presently, that the ancient philosophers 
built a little too* much upon authorities that are merely poetical : 
and so for he is in the right ; but I cannot imagine why he pretends 
to take an advantage against the natural philosophers, for some au- 
thorities of this kind, which have never been reputed but as arbi- 
trary characters, invented to amuse the imagination, rather than to 
inform the understanding. 

t Ovid. Met. lib. iL fab. 1. ver. 106. 



Mundus domus est maxima rerumj 
Quam qumque aUitoncefra^ine zwub 
Cingunif per quam limbus bis sex signis 
SteUimkanlibuSy alius in obliquo ceihere^ lance 
Bigas acceptat* — 

The world's a mansion that doth all things hold. 
Which thundMng zones, in number five infold. 
Through which a border painted with twelve signs. 
And that with sparkling constellations shines, 
In th* oblique roof of heaven's lofty sphere, 
Where Luna's course is mpric'd with chaise and pair. 

These are all dreams and fantastic follies. Will not 
nature be pleased some day or other to lay open her 
bosom to us, discover the means and conduct of 
her movements, and prepare our eyes to see them ? 
Good God, what abuse, what mistakes would we 

Eerceive in our poor science ! I am mistaken, if it 
olds any one thmg, as it really is ; and I shall de- 
part hence more ignorant of every thing but my own 

Have I not read in Plato this divine saying, that PhikMopiiy 
" Nature is nothing but an enigmatic poesy !"t As if I'y^li^ 
a man might say, a shaded and obscure picture, break- tic«tcd. 
ing.outhere and there with an infinite variety of false 
lights to exercise our conjectures. Latent i^ta omnia 
crassis occultata et circumfusa tenebrts^ ut nulla acies 
humani ingenii tanta sit quce penetrare in ccelum^ ter^ 
ram intrare possit : X " All those things lie concealed 
'^ and involved in so thick darkness, that no human 
^' wit can be so sharp as to penetrate either heaven 


\ Montaigne has here mistaken Plato's sense, whose wards, in 
Alctbiade n — p. 4>^ C, are these, %-« rt ^u xwmnk % vtnuurm-m 
mtftyftMri^m i " All poetry is in its nature enigmatical." Plato says 
this by reason of a verse in Homer's Margites, which he explains, and 
which indeed has something in it that is enigmatical. Either M on* 
taigne did not see this passage in Plato, or else he read it without 
closely examining it Nature is certainly a riddle with respect to us ; 
but it does not appear very plain in what sense it may be called 
enigmatical poetry. Montai^e himself, to whom this term ap- 
pears so divine, does not ex[3ain it to us very clearly 

X Cic« in Acad. Quaest. lib. iv. cap^ 39. 



or the earth.'* And certainly philosophy is no 
other than a falsified poesy. From whence do the 
ancient writers extract all their authorities, but from 
the poets ? The first of them were poets themselves, 
and wrote accordingly. Plato is but a poet uncon- 
nected. All super-human sciences are set off in the 
poetic style. Just as women make use of teeth of 
ivory, where the natural are wanting, and, instead of 
their true complexion, make one of some artificial 
matter ; as they stuff themselves out with cotton, &c. 
to appear plumjp, and, in the knowledge and sight of 
every one, trick up themselves with false and bor- 
rowed beauty : so does science (and even our law it- 
self has, they say, legitimate fictions^ whereon it 
founds the truth of its justice), she gives us in sup- 
position, and, for a ciu-rent pay, things which itself 
informs us were invented : for by these epicycles, ex- 
centrics, and concentrics, by which astrology is help- 
ed to carry on the motions of the stars, she gives us 
for the best she could contrive upon that subject j as 
also, in all the rest, philosophy presents us, not that 
whichxreally is, or what she really believes, but what 
^)he has contrived with the greatest plausibility. 
Plato, discoursing of the state of human Dodies, and 
those of beasts, says, " I should know what I have 
" said is truth, had I the confirmation of an oracle : 
*' but this is all I will affirm, that it is the most pro- 
V}^ V ^« bable of any tiling I could say." 
The con- It is uot to hcavcu only that philosophy sends her 
vhuii'n:a"u ropes, engines, and wheels ; let us consider a little 
has of him- what shc says of ourselves and of our contexture. 
There is not more retrogradation, trepidation, acces- 
sion, recession, and rapture in the stars and celestial bo- 
dies, than they have feigned in this poor little human 
body. In trutn, they have good reason upon thatvery 
account to call it a microcosm, or little world, so many 
views and parts have they employed to erect and 
build it. To assist the motions they see in man, and 
the various functions and faculties that we find in 
ourselves, into how many parts have they divided the 


soul ? In how many places lodged it ? In how many 
ranks and stories have they stationed this poor crea- 
ture man, besides those tliat are natural, and percep* 
tible ? And to how many offices and vocations have 
they assigned hiih ? They make an imaginary of a 
public thing. It is a subject that they hold and han- 
dle : and they have full power granted to them, to 
rip, place, displace, patch, and stuff him, every one 
according to his own fancy, and yet they possess him 
not. They cannot, not in reality only, but even in 
dreams, so govei'n him, that there will not be some 
cadence or sound which will escape their architec- 
ture, as enormous as it is, and. botched with a thou- 
sand false and fantastic patches. And there is no 
reason to excuse them ; for though we pardon pain* 
ters when they paint heaven, earth, seas, mountains, 
and remote islands, and only give us some slight 
sketch of them, and, as of things unknown, we are 
content with a faint description ; yet when they 
come to draw us, or any other creature which is 
known and familiar to us, according to the life, wc 
then require of them a perfect ami exact representa- 
tion of lineaments and colours, and despise them if 
they fail in it. I am very well pleased with the Mi- 
lesian wench,* who, observing the philosopher Thales 
always contemplating the celestial arch, and to have 
his eyes still gazing upward, laid something in his 
way that he might stumble at, to admonish him, 
" That it would be time enough to take up his 
** thoughts about things that are in the clouds, when 
'^ he had taken care of those that were under his 
^ feet.'f Doubtless she advised him very well, 
" rather to look to himself than to gaze at heaven.'' 
For, as Democritus says, by the mouth of Cicero, 
Quod est ante pedesy nemo spcctat : cccli scrutantur 

* She was maid-servant to Thales according io Plato, from whom 
this story is taken ; but he does not say that he stumbled at any 
tluDg laid in his way by his servant ; but that as he was walking 
along, with his eyes lilted up to the stars, he tell into a well. 


plagas : * " No man regards what is at his feet ; thejr 
*' are atlways prying towards heaven.*' But such is 
our condition, that the knowledge of what we have 
in hand is as remote from us, and as much above the 
clouds, as that of the stars ; as Socrates says, in 
IMato, " That whoevers tampers with philosophy, 
•* may be reproached as Thales was by the wom&n^ 
•* that he sees nothing of that which is before him.t 
•* For every philosopher is ignorant oif what his 
•* neighbour does : yea, and of what he' does him- 
** self, and is ignorant of whsfct they botli are, whe- 
** ther beasts or men." As for these people who 
think Sebonde^s arguments too weak, who are ino- 
rant of nothing, who govern the world, and know 
every thing, 

Qu4B mare compescant causce ; quid temperet annum ; 
StellcB sponie sua, jussceve vagentur, et errent : 
Quid premat ohscurum Lunce, quid proferat orbem ; 
Qidd velit, et possitrerum concordia discafs.X 

What hounds the swelling tides, what rules the year; 
Whether of force or will the planets err ; 
Why shadows darken the pale queen of night, 
Whence she renews her orb and spreads her light ; 
What means the jarring sympathy of things, &c. 

Have they not sometimes in their writings sounded 
the difficulties that occurred in the knowledge of 
their own being ? We see very well that the finger 
. moves, and that the foot moves; that some parts 
move of themselves without our leave, and that 
others stir by our direction ; that one sort of appre- 
hension occasions blushing, another paleness ; such 
an imagination works upon the spleen only, another 
upon the brain, one occasions laughter, the other 
tears, another stupifies and astonishes all our senses, 
and stops the motion of our members ; at one ob-. 
ject the stomach will rise, at another a member that 

* Cic. de Divin. lib. ii. cap. 13. f P^to in Tbestato, p. 127. 

X Hor(it. lib. i. epist 12, cap. 16^ &c. 

Mbs something Ibtirer^ IBkA hfdW a sj)ii4tual> iifipi«»^; 
non flfaooid ttiAkd siH^h sk/breaeb ifitd a ihMsy and 
solid subject^ atld th&dat^g ti^tli^ cotiinebtitj^dihl 
contesture. of thiese adiiHrilbl^' ^rihgH^ atd^ McPirisM 
ments, never man yet knew : -Omnid-i/ieeHa riaiohe^^ ^ 
et in mmra majmai^ dMtd:^ '' AllUhbie things 
*^ are idfipeiletrable byreaJBoi), and^cbbVeftled'ilPtlUi 
•• majesty of natiife/' saVBHiny. AddliSli Au^uStfM^ 
Modus quo corpdrU^us^aahtefenispifPtmt^ of^lno^mi^Ui 
esti ntc cdmpfehendl ah honiine potest : tt hbcipke 
homo esr:f *^ The matoner lirh^peby sotds are united \ 
^* to bodies, k altogether wonderml^ and clinnot bd r 
•' conceived by man; yef thisrufnion constitutes mdHj 
^ himself/' Mean while it is notso ihuchasdoubteilt 
for the opinions of men ^t6 redfeived ac^ordihg aa 
the ancients^ believed, by authoritry and «pi>]6 triist^ 
as if it were religion^ and law. The common^ nbtioii 
of it is, it is received Us^ gibberish; but this ti<uthi 
#itii all its pile of arguments, aild proo6, is adniitted 
as a finn and solid body, that is no mote to he 
diaken, no more to be judged of« On the contrar}% 
eveiy otte, according to^hiehtaleiil^ corroborates and 
Ibrtifies this received belief with the utiiiost power (^ 
faia reastfn;^ which is a supjble tool$ pliable, miA. 
tiMy aocommjodaied to m^ ngur^k Tl>us the World 
comes to be filleid with lies and fopperies. 

The resisbn why liiendo not doubt of many things^ How a 
igy that they never examine cotahion impreferii^niftjjjjp"* 
they do not dig to the root, where the faidts' and de^acarc?''^ 
foots li&; they only debate upon the brttndies : thc^jjj^** 
do not examine whether such and such a thitig^ be[ 
true^ bu¥if it has been so, and- so understood. !]^Js 
not inquired, whether Galen has said ietny t&it^g t6' 
the purpose, but whether ,h^ has said- so^or-so; £^ 
tliilh it wd^ Very reasonably* &at thifc cwb siUil^coii^' 
straint to the liberty of our judgments, aa^ tM^^ty- 
ranny over our opinions, should be' extended to the 

• EJin. lib. iL cajH 37. f St. AvgLApS^eCrAMD^ 

VOL. n. O 


j94 Am ABOhQGt ¥0U ^' 

schools and arts^ - Tlie god of scholastic knowled^d 
is Aristotle : it is irrdigious .to ^question auy of Im 
decrees^ as it was those of Lycurgus at. Sparta: hia 
doctrine is an inviolable law to us, though perhaps 
Bifff mce it is as falsc as another* : 

con^ccraiBg I do not know, why I should not as willingly em-t 
natural brace either the ideas of Plato, or the atoms of Epi« 
priacipiet. ^upijg^ qj ^hc plenuip or vacuum of Leucippus and 
Democritus, or the water of Thales, or the infinity 
of nature of Anaximander,* or the air.of Diogenes,f 
or the members and symmetry oFlPythagoras, or 
the infinity of Parmenides, or the one of Musaeus, 
or the water and fire of Apollodorus, or the similar 
parts .of Anagoras, or the discord and friendship of 
Empedocles, or the fire of Heraclitus, or any other 
opinion (in that infinite confusion of opinions and 
sentiments, which this, fine hupan reason produces 
by its clear-sightedness in every thing it meddles 
with), as I should the opinion of Aristotle upon this 
subject of the principfes. of natural things : which 
principles he builds ;Of three pieces, matter, form^ 
and privation. And what can be nj^ore vain than to 
make inanity itself the .pause of the production of 
jthings ? Privation is a negative : of what humoiur 
could he then make the cause and original of. things 
that are : and yet that were npt to be controvertedi 
but for the exercise of logic. There is nothing dis- 
puted } the whole matter is to defend the authqr of 
tlie e^chool from foreign objections : his authority is 
the ne plus uUra^ beyond which it is not permitted 
^JJ'^Jj!*^^- to inquire. 

dpittwuhl It'is very easy upon approved foundations to build 
J^J.^*^^'*'?^; whatever we pleasp ; ifs^r, according to the law, and 
bie to all ordering of the beginning, the other parts of th^ 
J^J^^^""' structure arcs easily carried on without any failure. 

. * Sext ]Sinpir. PVrrh. lib. iii. cap. 4'^jp. 155. 

f Of Diogenes Apblloniates, apud Sextum Empiricum in Pyrrli. 
Hypot. This 18 a farther proof of a former note in this chaper, that 
it was air, and nol a^i as Montaigne thought, must be Uie god of 
this philosopher of ApoUonia. 

^AIMOND 1}£ S£BONJ3C4 19£ 

By this way We find our reason well-grounded/ iahd 
have ^ood warrant for what we say ; for our masters 

E repossess and gain before-hand as much room in our 
elief, as is necessary towards concluding afterwards 
what theyplease ; as geometricians do by their pos- 
tulata. The consent and approbation we aUow 
them, giving them power to draw us to the. right 
and lejft, and to whirl us about at their own pleasure. 
Whoever will have his presuppositions taken tor grant^ . 
ed, is our master and god : he will lay the plan of his 
foundations so ample and easy, that by them he may 
mount us up to the clouds, if he pleases. - In the 
practice of science, we have given entire credit tp 
the saying of Pythagoras, " That every expert per- 
" son ought to be believed in his own art/* The 
logician refers the signification of words to the gram- 
marian; the rhetorician borrows the state of argu- 
ments frpm the logician ; the poet his measure from 
the musician ; the geometrician his proportions from 
the arithmetician ; and the metaphysicians take the 
physical conjectures for their foundations. For 
every science has its principles presupposed, by 
which human judgment is every-where cnrbed. if 
you rush against this barrier, where the principal 
error lies, they have presently this sentence in their 
mouths, " That there is no disputing with personi), 
" who deny principles." Now men can have no 
principles, if not revealed to tbem by the. divinity,: 
of all the rest the beginning, the middle, and th^ 
end, is nothing but dream and vapour. As for those 
that contend upon presuppo$itioh, we mu^t^ in our 
turn, presuppose to them the same axiom upon 
which the dispute turns. For every human presup- 
position and declaration has as much authority one 
as another, if reason do not mal^e the difference- 
Wherefore they are all to be put into the balance, 
and first the generals, and those that tyrannise over 
us. ^ The persuasion- of certainty is a certain testi- 
mony of folly and extreme uncertainty; and there is 
not a more foolish sort of men, nor who have less 

2 ; 


pMlosophy, thah tii« Philodoxcs of Plato.* We 
must inquire whether fire be hot ? whether snow be 
white ?. if we know whether there be such things as 
hard or soil? 
Whether As to those answers of which they tell old stories, 
SfwiSSj^** he that doubted if there was any such thing as 
dainty if de. heat, whom they bid throw himself into the fire ; and 
S?7tew! he that dettied the coldnes of ice, whom they bidfput 
perience a cake of ice into his bosom : they are pitiful things, 
^^^^ unworthy of the profession of philoso^y. If they 
bad left us in our natural state, to receive the exter- 
nal appearances of things according as they present 
themselves to us by our senses ; and had permitted 
us to lR)Jtow our own natural appetites, and be go- 
verned by the condition of our birtn ; they might then 
have reason to talk at that rate, but it is from them that 
we have learned to make ourselves sit up £m? judges of 
the world : it is from them that we derive tifiismn<$y, 
*' That human reason is controller^gene^al of afl that 
*^ is above and below the ftrmament, that composes 
** every- thing, that can do eveiy thing, and by ihe 
" mean^ of which every thing is known and under* 
" stood." Thiis answer would be good amongstcanni- 
bals, who enjoy the happiness ofaIong,quiet, andpeaet- 
abte life, without Aristotle's Precepts, and witiiout tile 
knowledge of the name of Physics. This answer 
would perhaps be of more value and greater ibrce 
than all those which they borrow from their reason 
atid invention. Of this^ all animals, and aU; where 
the power of the law of nature is yet pure and sim- 
ple, would be as capable s^ we ; but) those they have 
renounced. They need not tell us, it is true, for 
you see and feel it so-: they must tell me whether 1 
Teally feel what I' think I do-; andy if I do 
feel it, then let them tell me why I feel it, and 
how, and what : let them tell me^ the name, 

* ** Persons who are possessed, with opmiont.of whidiitbey know 
^* not the grounds, whose heads are intoxicated with words, who 
<< see and aJBTect only the appearances of tilings^'* This is taken 
from Plato, who has characterised them very particularly at the end 
of the fifth book of bis Republio* 


origmal, the bounds and borders of heat aiid cold, the 
qualities of the ajsent and patient ; or let them give 
me up their proifession, which is not to admit or ap^ 
prove of any thing, but by the way of reason ; that 
IS their touch-stone for essays of eveij sort 

But certainly it is a test full of falsity, error, weak- whether 
ness, and defect. Which way can we better prove ^j^^* 
it, than by itself? If we are not to believe it wheno^whatim. 
spealcing of itself, it can hardlj^ be thought fit to^l^^n^ 
judge of things foreign to it; if it knows any thing, "f"^ 
it will at least be its own being and abode. It is m 
the soul, and either a part or an effect of it : for true 
and essential reason, from which we, by false colours^ 
borrow the name^ is lodged in the breast of the Al« 
mighty. There is its habitation and recess, and from 
thence that it proceeds, when God is pleased to im* 
part any ray of it to mankind ; Pallas issued from 
ner father's head, to communicate herself to the 

Now let us see what human reason tells us of iU wh^t m* 
irelf, and of the soul : not of the soul in general, of J|J"^*^'J^~ 
which almost all philosophy makes the celestial and tare o/a» 
first bodies partake : nor or that which Thiles* attri* •««*• 
buted to things, which are themselves reputed inani* 
mate, being moved by the consideration of the load- 
stone : but of that which appertains to us, and which 
It concerns us most to know : 

Ignaratwr enim gjUBsit nahtra animaij 
^aia sit, an contra nascentilus insinuetur^ 
Et simul intereat nobiscum morie dirempta^ 
An tejiehras orci visal, vastasque lacunaSy 
An pecudes alias divinities insinuet se.f 
For none the nature of the soul doth know. 
Whether that it be bom with us, or no ; 
Or be infusM into us at our birth, 
And dies with us when wc return to earth 5 
Or then descends to the infernal shades. 
Or, ceaseless, other animals pervades. 

* Diog. L^rt in the life of Thales, lib. i. sect. 24. 
t Lucret lib. iy. IIS, &c. . . 


Crates and Dicaearchus* were induced to judge from 
hun^an reason, "That there was no soul at all; 
" but that the body thus stirs by a natural motion : 
^* R[a;to,t that it was a substance moving of itself: 
" Thales, a nature without repose :t Asclepiades, an 
*' exiercising of the senses : Hesiod and Anaximan- 
" der, a thing composed of earth and water : Par^ 
^' menide^, of earth and fire : Empedocles, of 
« blood." S • 

Sangutneam vomit ille animom. || 

His soul he vomited in streams of blood. 

Possidonius, Cleanthes, and Galen, judged from 
the same principle that it was heat, or a hot com- 
plexion i 

Igneus est ollis vigor, et coetestis origo.^ 
^ From fire their vigour, and from heav'n their race. 

" Hippocrates, that it was a spirit diffiised all over 
" the body: Varro, that it was an air received at the 
*' mouth, heated in the lungs, moistened in the 
" heart, and diflHised throughout the whole body- 
*' Zeno,** the quintessence of the four elements: 

• Apud Sext. Empir. Pynrh. Hypot. lib. ii, cap. 5, p. S7, et adv.- 
Mathein. sri^i i^^c^^f P* ^1- " DicsKurchus Phferecratem (juendam 
** Phthiotam scnem — disserentem inducit nihil esse omnmd ani- 
" mum/* &c. Cic. Tusc Quarst. lib. i. cap. 10. 

t De Legibus, lib. x. p. 668. 

% According to Plutarch de Placitis Philosophorum, lib. iv. cap. 2, 
which moves of itself, eUrajufiiTef, 

§ ** Empedocles animum esse censet, cordi suflusum sanguine,'* 
Cic. Tusc.jQuacst. lib. i. cap. 9. 

II Virg. Mneid. lib. ix. vor. Sd-Q- 

^ Idem, ibid. lib. vi. ver. 730. 

*^ I know not where Montaigne had this ; for Cicero expressly 
says, that this quintessence, or fiflh nature, is a thought of Aris* 
totie, who makes the soul to be composed of it ; and that Zeno 
thought the soul to be fire, Cic Tusc. Quaegt. lib. i: cap. 9 & 10. 
After this, Cicero adds, ** That Aristotle calls the mind, wh ch he 
** derives from that fifth nature, Entelechta, a new-coined word, 
^* signifying a perpetual motion." Though Montaigne has cor ied 
these last words, in what he proceeds to tell us of AristoUe, he 
censures him for not liavin^ spqken of tl^e origin and nature of th^ 

.llArtf O^B 6£ '6£BdND£^ 199 

*• H^raclitus Ponticus, that it was tKe light : Xeho- 
crates and the Egyptians, a moveable number : the 
Chaldeans; a virtue without any determinate form :*' 

- Halitum qumdam vilalem corporis esse', " " 
Harmonium Grtpci quam dicunt.* 

A certain* vital habit in man's frame, 
Whick hartnotiy the Grecian sages- oaine. 

Let us not forget Aristotle, who held the soul to be 

that which naturally causes the body to mavev- which 

he called Entelechia, with a colder invention than 

any of the rest ; for he neither speie^s of.the essence^ "* 

the origin, nor the nature {^ the soul, and only 

takes notice of the. effec t. Lactantius, JSeneca^ and 

most of the dogmatists, have confessed, that it was 

a thing they did not understand. After all this 

enumeration of opii^ions: Harum.sententidrum qua 

vera sitj , Deus atiquis videritjf says Cicero : " Of 

" these opinj^Sy wnich isthe true, let some God de- 

*' termine.'-^^^I know by myself," says St. Bernard, 

" how incomprehensible Qod is, seeing I cannot 

" comprehend the parts of py own bemg/*^ Hera- 

clitusjt who was oi opinion, that every "pace was 

full of souls and demons, nevertheless maintained, 

" That no. one could advance so far towards the 

" knowledge of his soul, as ever to arrive at it ; of 

" so profound a nature was its essence." Neither in what 

is there less controversy and debate about the seatP*'''^"*" 

of it. Hippocrates and Hierophilus place it in thelidesr "" 

soul. But had he only cast Iiis eye upon what Cicero had said a 
kttle before, lie would have been convinced, that Aristbde had ta- 
ken care to explain himself concerning tlie origin of the soul, be- 
fore he remarked the efie^t of it. If he . has not thereby fully de- 
monstrated what the nature of it is, Zeno has not given' us much 
better light into it, when he says, '< The soul or mind seems to be 
** fire :** and it would not to be difficult to show, that, in this article, 
the other philosophers have not succeeded better than Zena and 

• Lucret. lib. iii.ver. 100. 

f Cic. in Tusc. Quaest. lib. i. cap. 11. 

;^ Diog. Laert. in the Life of Heraclitus, lib. ix. sect.7. 

9§9 ,A» :isfipppfxt wm f 

"Vibma MBpe vkletuBB turn didiur esse 
Corpori^yei ,nfin,^ftamen hfiK purs vltq, valenMsnt 
So health and jitrength ave both ^^46 lK(l<ng 
To roan, but areno pacts of him that's ^pg. 

Epicurus, in the {ttomachi or middle region of tho 


Forthistheseiit ofhoiror is uid £bbi^ 
And joys Blteroate likewise triumph heiE^ 

frhfe Stoics, about, and within, the heart : Erasistra* 
tus^ close to the membrane of the epicran^on : Em-i 
pedocles, in the blood } as also Moses, which was 
the j^eason why he interdicted eating the blood of 
beasits, in which their soul is seated. Galen thoughtji 
that every part of the body had its SQuJ ; Strato II haa 
placed it between the eye-brows ; Qud fdci^ quidem 
sit animus, aut ubi habit et, ne quarevdum quidem 
cst:% ^* What figure the soul is of, or what part it 
^ inhabits, is not to be inquired into,** savs Cicero, 
I very willingly deliver this autlior to you in his own 
words j for should I go about to alter the speech of 
eloquence itself? Besides, it were no great prize to 
steal the matter of his inventions, ^ey are neither 
very frequent, nor very difficult, and they are pretty 
"• well known. But the reason why Chrysippus argues it 
to be about the heart, as the rest of that s^ctdo, is 
not to be admitted. " It is," says he,** " because, 
<> when we would affirm any thing, w^ lay our 
^ hand, upon our breasts : ana when we are to pro<i 

* Flutarch c|e Flacit^b PhilosophoFum, Ub. iv. cap. 5, 
4 Sext^ Em^iricus a^v. Mathem. p. 201. 
% Juucret. lib, iil. ver. 103, § Id. ibid. ver. 141, 
II Plutarch de Flaoitis Philosoph. lib. iv. cap. 5. 

3[ Cic. Tu8C QusBt. lib. L cap! 28* 
* Apud GalenuQi lib. ii, de rlackiB Hippocratis et Pt|KtoiM9^ 

V mwiice ^ij NiH^h. j^igslSes I, m let the lower 
<^ nifLndible.smk tpisards tiie stomach*'^ I cannot 
9Wt bere raak^^^ i:e;wiarfc upcm tite van^ of so 
gfe^A a loai):: ^, jbeiwdea that tbese coxipiderations 
are kAm^ .tdidul in tfiemselireiSy the hst is only a 
proof 1^ th« 02^k«)^2iat tbey hav« thdrsouk lodged ., ;. t /'' 
in that p^tTiilp Imman judguaent is fo vigilaat, j^...-'- 
that it does fltot <8ome|ifne8 >Ia^. Wijiy shomd we 
be a&ai4 to ap^^ We see tiue {Stoics, vhb are the 
Others j9f hmMP prudence* famre fpcmd out, that the 
soul pf a VfiW^ ei^^hed tmder a nzin,* long fabouis 
and 9trj¥ie9 to gfit ouU before it can ttisengage itself 
firom the bji^d^ny lite a BMnise caught in a trap* Some 
hold,.tbat th^ world wm m^de to give bodies, by way 
of punishment, to ^e angi^ls that fell, by their own 
faylt, frpm the puri;ty wb^ein tibey had been created: 
the 4rst creation havm^ been no odier than incorpo* 
re^; and that, aocordiQg as they are more or less 
depraved &om their spirituality, so are they more or 
)eas jocundly or dully incorporated. From thence 
proceeds all the variety of so much created matter. 
#ut the q^t that, fyt his punishment, was invested 
with t)^ body of liie sun, must certainly have a very 
rare f^ particular measure of thirst. All our in-Themity 
quiries termioatein a mist, as Plutarch t says of faisto«^,^"2J[^ 
ries» wher^t Bis it is in charts, all that is beyond tfaeq«triti. 
coasts of known oounlTtes is represented as marshes, 
impeaetrable forests, deserts, and places uninhaUta- 
ble. Aqd this is ihe reason iiiiy the most stupid 
fmd fbildisb rjsrveries were inastly finmd in those au^ 
thors, who treat pf the suhlimest sutgects, and mo^ 
p&ed the fiurthest in them : losing themselves m tneir 
OW9 ewiosity and presumption* ^ Hie beginning and 
(BDd of l(nowledge are equally reputed foolish. Observe 
tp what a height Plato soars inlus poetic clouds : do 
but take notiee of Ms gibberish of the gods. But 

♦ Senec. ep. 57. 

t This reflection of FltitarA is indie preambW to hb Life of 


J^'J'J'JJ-^ what did he dream of when he defined man to he a 
finuion'ortwo legged animal,* without feathers : giving those 
"'^ who had mind to deride him, a pleasant occasion ; 
for, having plucked a capon alive, they called it 
Ir^*JT'i ^^^^*^ ™^^* ^ ^^^ *^^ Epicureans, liow simple 
cureans, ^' wcrc they to imagine, that their atoms, which they 
^**** said were bodies, having some weight, and a natural 
motion downy?ardSy had formed the world, until they 
were put in mind by their adversaries, that according 
to this description, it was impossible they could unite 
with one another, .their fall being so direct and per- 
pendicular, and producing so many parallel lines 
throughout ? Wherefore, there was a necessity, that 
they should afterwarcfe add a fortuitous and lateral mo- 
tion, and that they should, moreover, accoutre their 
atoms with hooks and crooks, to adapt them for an 
union and attachment to one another. Even then, 
do not those that attack them upon this second con- 
sideration, put them hardly to it ? If the atoms have, 
by chance, formed so many sorts of figures, why did 
it never fall out that they made a house or a shoe f 
why,fat the same rate, should we not as well believe 
that an infinite number of Greek letters, strewed all 
over a certain place, might possibly fall into the contex- 
tmo^B ture of the Iliad ? '* Whatever is capable of reason,'* 
^{^ ""^"'says Zeno, " is better than that which is not capable 
f^ of it : there is nothing better than the world } the 
" world isthereforecapableofreason,'*t Cotta,bythis 
way of argument, makes the world a mathematician $ 
and it is also made a musician, and an organist, by 
this other argument of Zeno : " The whole is more 
** than a part ; we are capable of wisdom, and are 
" parts of the world ^ therefore the world is wise.^t 
- It would be endless to instance, not only in the argu- 
ments which are false in themselves, but likewise fri- 
volous, which -do not hold together, and accuse their 

* Diog.Laert. in the Life of Diogenes the Cynic, lib. v. sect* 40* 
t Cicde Nat. Deor. lib. iiu cap. 9. 
^ IdeoQy lib. iL cap. 12. 


authors not so much of ignorance, as imprudence, 
in the mutual reproaches of philosophers, upon their 
dissensions in opinion. Whoever should bundle up 
)3L faggot of the fooleries qf human wisdom, would 
produce wonders : I willingly muster up these few 
for a pattern, by a certain bias, not less profitable 
than the most moderate instructions. Let us- judge 
by these, what opinion we are to have of man, 
of his sense and reason, when, in these great persons, 
and such as have raised human knowl^ge so high, 
there are so many gross and palpable errors. Forwiwth«r 
my part, I am rather apt to believe, that thfey havCp^.,*^**^ 
treated of knowledge casually, played with it, dallied phcratrr^ii. 
with reason, as a vain and frivolous instrument, Hi^^Ml^w^^ 
a shuttle-cock, and set on foot Mi all sorts of &ncies riousi^. 
and inventions, sometimes more nervous, andsome* 
times weaker. This same-Plato, who defines man as if 
he were a fowl, says elsewhere, after Socrates, " That 
^^ he does not, in truth, know what man is, and that 
" he is one of the members of the world the hardest 
^* to understand." By this variety and instability of 
opinions, they tacitly lead us, as it were^ by the hand, 
to this certainty of their uncertainty : they protess 
not always to deliver their opinions bare-faced and 
apparent to us ; they have, one while, disguised them 
in the fabulous shadows of poesy, and, another 
while, in some other vizor: for our impeifection 
carries this also along with it, that crude meats are 
not always proper for our stomachs ; they must be 
dried, altered, and mixed: the philosophers do the 
same : they, now and then, conceal their real opi« 
nions and judgment, and £ilsify them to accom- 
modate themsewes to the public : they will not make 
an open profession of ignorance, and of the imbeci- 
lity of human reason, that they must not frighten 
children ; but they sufficiently discover it to us by 
the appearance or knowledge that is confused and 
uncertain. I advised a person in Italy, who had a phiiiMo. 

great mind to speak Italian, that, provided he onlyP^^ '^{^ 
ad a desire to make himself understood, without t^uuiexl 


hems ambitious to excel, he need but mske use of 
the fiist words that came to the tongue's end, whe^ 
ther Latin, French, Spanish, or Gascon ; aiid that by 
adding the Italian terminations, he could not fiul of 
hitting upon 6ome idiom of the country, either Tus- 
can, Roman, Venetian, Piedmont^e, or Neapolitan, 
and to apply himself to some one <^ those many 
. forms : I say the same of philosophy ; it has so many 
^ces, so much variety, and has said so many things, 
that all our dreams and chimeras are therein to be 
found. Human £uicy can conceive nothing good m 
bad thftt4s not there : Nihil torn absurdi did potest^ 
fU0dnon dicatur ab aliquo pkilosephorum :^ ^^ Nothing 
^ can be so absurdly said, that has not been said be- 
*^ fore by some of the philosophers," And I am the 
more willing to expose my whimsies to the pubHc ; 
forasmuch as, though they are spun out of myself, 
and without any model, I know they will be found to 
correspond with some ancient humour, and one or 
anothet will be sure to say^ ^ See whence he took 
it/^ My manners are natural, I have not called in 
the assistante of any discipline to form them : but, 
weak as they are, when it came into my head to 
t>ublisb them to ^e world, and when, in order to 
expose them to the light in a little more decent garb, 
I set out to corroborate them with reasons and ex« 
ampless I wondered to find them accidentally con* 
formable to so many philosophical discourses and ex- 
amples. I never Knew the regimen of my life, till 
now that it is near worn out and spent, A new 
figure; an unpremeditated and accidental philoso* 
Tftv iBAM pher» But to return to the soul : as for Plato's hav* 
r*^h!!ri8 ^S pieced reason in the brain, anger in the heart, 
c^nccrnii4 wd concupisccuce in the liver : it was rather an in- 
ibe fimaii terprctatiou of the movements of the soul, than that 
he intended a division and separation of it, as of a 
body, into several members : and the most likely of 
their opinions is, that it is always a soul, which, by 

* Cic. de Divin. lib. il cap. 58. 


its faculty, reasous^remembers, comprehends^ judges, 
desires, and exercises all its other operations by di- 
vers instruments of the body» as the pilot guides his 
ship according to his experience, one while strainii% 
or slacking the cordage, one while hoisting the main- 
yard, or moving the rudder, by one and the same 
power conducting several effects : that this soul is 
lodged in the brain, which appears in that the wounds 
and accidents, which touch that part, do immediately 
hurt the faculties of the soul ; and it is not incon«- 
sistent,. that it should thence diffuse itself into the 
other parts of the body ; 

' JiMmn^ mm desert t unquam 

Phoebus ne'er deviates ffom the zodiac's way- ; 
Yet he enlightens all thin^ with bis ray. 

As the sun sheds from heaven^ its light and influence, 
and therewith fUl^ the world : 

CcBtera pars amm€B per toium dissita carpus 
Paret, el ad numen mends, nomenque moveiw.f 

The Qtfaer part o' th' soul, which is confin'd 
To all the limbs, qbeya the ruling miod, 
And moves as that directs. 

Son\e have said,, that there was a general soul, MDiteenu 
it were a great body, from whence all particular ^^^J^jlJ*^ 
souls were extracted, and thither return^ always mix-orifin. 
ing Itself again witb universal matter : 

Dewn namque We per mmnes 

Terrasque tractusque maris^ cml/umqueprofrndum. 
Hinc peeudes, armefiiOj viros^ genm omnejerarumj 
QuemquA sibi lenues nascentem arcessere vtlas* 
Scilicet hue reddi deindef^ ao resoUUa rejhri 
Omnia : nee tnorti esse locum.l 

For they suppose 

That God through eaith, the sea, and heaven goes. 
Hence men, beasts, reptiles, insects, fishes, fowls, 
With breath, are quickea'd, and attract their seub ; 

• Claud, m Paneg. de Consol. Hon. 411 » 41S. 
f Lucret. lib. iiL ver 144, 14$. t ^^- Cxeorg. lib. It. ver. 221, Sec 


«06 Ai^ apol<5gy l^dJK 

And into him at length resolve again. 
No room is left for death.*- — 

Others, that they only rejoined and re-united 
themselves to it : others, that they were produced 
from the divine substance : others, by the angels 
from fire and air : others, that they were from all an-» 
tiquity : some, that they were created at the Very 
point of time when the bodies wanted them : others 
make them to descend from the orb of the moon> 
and to return thither. The generality of the an* 
cients believed, that they were engendered from fa- 
ther to son, afrer a like manner, and produced as all 
other natural things, founding their argument on 
the likeness of children to their parents : 

InstUlaia patris virtus iibi,* 
Fories creanturfortihm et borus.f 

Thou hast thy father's virtues with his blood ; 
For still the brave spring from the brave and good. 

And upon tte observation, that not only bodily 
marks, but moreover a resemblance of humours^ 
complexions, and inclinations of the soul, descend 
-^^om parents to their children : 

Denique cur acrum violeniia triste leomtm 
Semnium sequitur^ dolus vulpUmSj etfuga cervisf 
A patrihus daim-, et patruis pavor mcitat artus. 
Si uon certa suo quia semine semifdoque^ 
Vis animi pariter crescit cum corpore ioto PX 

For why should rage from the fierce lion's seed. 
Or, from the subtle fox's, craft proceed, 
. Or why the timorous and flying hart 
His fear and trembling tti his race impart, 
But that a certain force of mind does grow. 
And still increases as the bodies do ? 

They add, that this is a proof of the divine justice, 
which hereby punishes, in the children, the feults of 

* I am at a loss to know from whence Montaigne took this fint 

t Horatv lib. iv. ode 4) vev. 29. ' • .? 

t Lucret, lib. iu. ver. 741 to 743, 746, 747. 


their fathers : forasmuch as the contagion of the pa- 
rents' vices is in some 'sort imprinted in the soul of 
children, and that the irregularity of their will affects 
them. ' 

Moreover, that if the souls had any other derivar'^^oph 
tion than fit>m a natural succession, and that they pre!exil ^ 
had pre-existed, they would retain some memory of^^ncecjfthe 
their first being, considering the natural facuhies that for/lheir 
are proper to them of discoursing, reasoning, and re-""|®°J^. 
membering: confute 

— Si in corpus nasteniihis inshmatnT^ 
Cur super anieactam teiaiem meminisse nequhimSf 
. Nee vestigia gestarumrerwm ulla ienemus f* 

For at our birth, if it infused be, 

tVhy do, we then retain iio menioly 

Of our faregoiug state^ and why no morft • • - - 

Remember any tiling we did before ? 

For, to make the condition of our souls such as we ^ 
would have it to be, we must suppose them all know- 
ing, even in their natural simplicity and purity. Of 
consequence they had been such, exempt from the 
prison of the body, as well before they entered into 
it, as we hope they will be after they are gone out of 
it. From which knowledge it must follow, that they 
would be sensible when in the body ; as Platot saidj 
" That what we learn is no other than a remem- 
" brance of what we knew before;" a thing which 
everVone by experience may maintain to be false. 
In th6 first place, as we do not justly remember any 
thing, but what we have been taught : and, if the 
memory perform its office aright, it would at least 
suggest to us something more than what we have 
learned. Secondly, what the soul knew, being in its 
purity, was true knowledge, knowing things as they 
are by its divine intelligence : whereas here we make 
it receive falshood and vice, when we instruct il 
wherein it cannot employ its remembrance, that 
image and ccmception having never been planted in it. 

^ * Lucret lib. iii- ten 671* f In Phaedoney p. 383. 

To sAy, that the eorpcred priMn doe^r suffocate titS 
soul's natural &eufadea^ in Mdi a manner, thaith^ 
aretherelyy nttetlf extinet^»> firsts contrary^ to l^ts 
other belief of acknowle^ing its power to be so 
gr^t, and the opeciUiona of it, which men sensibly 
jperceive in this life, M admiraUe, ais tt» teitve tbeiteby 
cbBcluded this divinitjr, and past eUStttiity^ and the 
immortally to Cdme : 

Nam si tmiapenf eir aniMfmiUtidfiatestaSf 
0mm lit actarum exciderit retinentia rerwn, 
Non (id opinorj id ab lethojam longior erraiJ^ 

For if the mind be chang'cLto diat dmree, 
As of past things to lose all menioi^; 
So great a change as that, I must coitfess^ 
Appears to me than death but little less. 

Besides, it is here, with us, and not elsewhere, that 
the force and effect of the soul ought to be consi- 
dered : all the rest of its perfections are vain and 
useless to it ; it is by its present condition, that all 
its immortality is to be rewarded and paid^ and of 
the life of man only that it is to render an account: 
it had been injustice to ha^e stripped it of its means 
rad powers, to have disarmed it, from the time of 
U» captivity and imprisonment, its weakne^ and in^ 
firmity, fh>m the time when it wa^ compelled to 
entejT upon a course of action, which was to deter- 
mine its misery to all eternity, and* to insist upon 
the consideration of so ^ort a time, perhaps but an 
hour ot two, or, at the most, but an age (which^have 
nq more proportion with infinity, tli^n an insttnt), 
for this momentary interval to ordain^ and ftiailly 
determine its whole existence. It were an unreik^ 
sonable disproportion to infer an eternal recomp'ence 
in conseauence of so ^xort alife. Plato, to defeifdl 
himself from this inconvenience, will have ^ futui^ 
^ rewards limited to the term of a hundred' yeaitf, 
*^ relatively to hummi dumticm :'^ and^ of die mtf- 
demS) there are enow who have given them tetti|^ 

* Lucret. 13). iiL ver. 9\\. 

RAIHOND D£ S£BONt>£. 309 

lal limits. Bytlm they judged, that ^^ the generation of iiiat the 
** the soul followed the common condition of human J|J|jJ^*' 
*^ things :" as also its life, according to the opinion i^r^s*" 
of Epicurus and Democritus, which has been the"^5*^jjj 
most received, in consequence of these fine appear- the body, 
ances, that they saw it bom ; and that, according as 
the body grew more capable, they saw it increase in 
vigour, as the other did ; that its feebleness, in in- 
fancy, was very manifest; as was, in time, its vi- 
gour and maturity; after that, its declension and 
old age ; and, at fast, its decrepitude : 

Gigni par iter cum corpore^ el una 

Crescere saUimuSj pariterque senescere mentem.* 

As to the soul, this point we firmly hold, 
Tis with the body born, grows strong, and old. 

They perceived it to be capable of diverse passions, 
and agitated with several painful motions, from 
whence it fell into a lassitude and uneasiness, capa« 
ble of alteration and change, of cheerfulness, stu« 
pidity, and faintness, and subject to diseases and in- 
juries, as well as the stomach, or the foot : 

Mentem sanarif corpus vt tegrum 

CemimuSj etflectimedicina posse videmus.i 

Minds, as well as sickly bodies, feel 
The pow'r of medicines that kQl or heal. 

Intoxicated and disturbed with the fumes of wine, 
jostled from her seat by the vapours of a burning 
fever, dosed by the application of some medica* 
ments, and roused by others : 

— Corpcream naturam animi esse necesse est, 
Corporeis quomam telis ictuque lohorat. % 

Hence the soul's union with the bod^s plain. 
Since by corporeal darts it suffers pain. 

They perceived all its faculties overthrown by the 
mere bite of a mad dog, and that it then had no 

• Lucret. lib. iii. ver. 446. f Idem, ibid. ter. 509. 

X Idem, ibid, ver, 167, 177. 
TOI.. II. P 

Mreagth of readofr) ttd siUffideney» nti virfae, to^bi^ 
losofmical resolutioB^ no re^tatice that could el<^ 
empt it from subjectioii to such accidents ; the «lavef 
of a mastiff cur, shed upo& the hand of Socratefs^ 
was seen to shake his wisdom so much that there re* 
mained no trace of his former knowledge : 

vts ammat 

CotiturbcUw €t divisu seorsavti 

Disject Atur eodem iUo distracta vemm,* 

He's mad, because the parts of soul and mind 
Are by the p<Hs6n's ^le&ce di^m'd, 
Disturb'd, and toss'd. 

This poison found no more resistance in his great 
' soul, than in that of an infant of four years old: a 
poison sufficient, if philosophy were incarnate, to 
make it iiirious and onid ; insomuch that Cato, who 
ever disdained death and fi>rtunei could not endure 
the skht €^a looking glass, or <^ water, con&uaded 
with horror and afiHght, at tiie thought of falling by 
the bite of a mad dog, into the disease, called, by 
physicians, hydrophobia: 

Vis merit distracia per arius 

Turbai agens animam, spvmantes ceqtisre satso 
Ventorum ut vatidisfervesctmt virilms undce.\ 

Tiie venom, having thiough the body stole. 
Makes such a strong commotion in rae soul, 
As boisterous storms which o'er the ocean rave. 
And nose white cm'ls upon the foaming wave. 

^^^'J^^'Now, as to this particular, philosophy has sufficiently 

mui liable armed man to encounter all other accidents, either 

the*t^S"of ^^^ patience, «, if the search of that costs too 

a fool. ^ dear, by an infiiliible defeat, in totally depriving 

himself of all sensation: these are expedients of use 

to a soul that is capable of reason and deliberation ; 

though of none, when the judgment is affected ; a 

situation which many occasions may produce, as a 

too vehement agitation, or a wound in a certain 

* Lucret Hb. iii. ver. 498. f Idem, ibid. ver. 49I9 &o. 

RAIMOKD 0E 8EB0in>Er« Hi 

part of the bodj ; or vapours in the stomach, that 
may dazzle the understanding, and turn the brain : 

Marlfis in corporis aims errnt 

S€Sp^ mimusj dementitenimdelir&quefatury 
Interdumque gravi lethwrgo fertur in aUum 
jEtemumque soporem^ oculis nutuque cadeniL* 

For whea the body's sick, and ill at ease, 

The mind not seldom shares in the dbease. 

Wanders, grows wild, and ra?es, and sometimes, by 

A heavy and a fiaital lethargy. 

Is overcome, and cast Into a deep. 

An irredstible, eternal sleep. 

Hie philosophers have touched ^ut little on this 
subject, no more than on another of equal import- 
ance: they have this dilemma continually in their 
mouths, to comfort our mortal condition : " The soul 
" is either mortal, or immortal; it will suffer no 
" pain, if immortal ; • if mortal, it will change 
** for the better." They never touch the other 
branch ; what if it change for the worse ? and they 
leave to the poets the menaces of future torments; 
but thereby they give themselves a large scope. 
These are two omissions, that I often meet with in 
their discourses; I return to the^ first :t this soul 
loses the use of the sovereign stoical good, so con- 
stant and so firm. Our fine human wisdom must 
here yield, and lay down her arms. As to the rest, 
they also considered, by the vanity of human reason, 
that the mixture and association of two such con- 
trary things, as mortal and inunortal, was imagin« . 
2ihle : 

Qidppe etenim tnortale iBtemojungere, et una 
Consentire pUare^ etjimsimutimpossej 
Desipere est : quid enim diversius esse puiandum esig 
Autmagis inter sedisjtinchim, discrepitansque, 
Qudm mcrtale quqdest, immartali atqiie perenni 
Junctum in concUiOj saevas iolerare procellasIX 

♦ Lucret. lib. iii. ver. 464-, &Ci 

f Thiat the soul lives, or may fitre the wone. 

% Lucf^t. lib. uL'ver. 801 , fte. 


' The mortal and th' eternal, then, to bleod, 
And tliink they can pursue one common end. 
Is madness : for what things more diff'rent are, 
Distinct in nature, and disposed to Jar? 
How can it then be thought, that these should beat*. 
When thus conjoin d, of harms an equal share ? 

Moreover, thev perceived that the soul declined, as 
well as the body : 

Simul iPvofessafaiisclL* 

Fatigu'd together with the weight of age. 

Which, according to Zeno, the image of sleep suf- 
ficiently demonstrates to us : for he looks upon it as 
a fainting and fall of the soul, as well as of tne body. 
Contrahi animum^ et qtiasi labi putaty atque decu 
dere ;t '^ He thinks the mind is convulsed, and that it 
*' slips and fells :" and what they perceived in some, 
that the soul maintained its force and valour to the 
last gasp of lifcj they attributed to the variety of 
diseases^ as it is observable in men at the last extre- 
mity, tnat some retain one sense, and some another, 
one the hearing, and another the smell, without an^ 
manner of alteration ; and that there is not so uni- 
versa! a deca^, that some parts do not remain vigo* 
rous and entire : 

Non alio pacto (juam si pes cum dolet cegri, 
In nullo caput tntcfea sijorti dolore.X 
St>, often of the gout a man complains, 
Whose head is, at the same time, free from pains. 

The sonri Truth is as impenetrable by the sight of our judg- 
t^wMkiy" nient, as the sun by the eyes of the owl, says Ans- 
b*lheboid-*^*^^* By what can we better convince him, than 
ei dogma." by so gross bliudncss in so apparent a light? For 
•"•^ the contrary opinion of the immortality of tlie soul, 
which, Cicero says, was first introduced (by the 
testimony of authors at least §) by Pherecides Syrius, 
in the time of king Tullus (though others attribute 

♦ Lucret. Ub. iii. yer. 459. f Cic de Divinat. lib. ii. cwp. 58, 

X LucreU fib. iii. ver. Ill, 112. § Tiuc. Quaest. lib. i. cap. 16. 



-it to Thales, and some to others), is the part of hu- 
man science, which is treated of with the most 
doubt and reservation. The most positive dogmatists 
are forced, in this point, principally to take shelter 
under the Academy. No one knows what Aristotle 
has established upon this subject, no more than all 
tike ancients in general, who handle it with a waver- 
ing belief: Rem gratissimam promittentium magis 
quam probantium :* ^^ He conceals himself in a cloud 
^^ of words of difficult and unintelligible sense, and 
^ has left his sectaries as much divided about his 
^^ judgment, as his subject.'^ Two things render The found, 
this opinion plausible to them : one, " that without oJIrjloBrf 
^^ the immortality of souls, there would be nothing the mdI'i 
^* whereon to ground the vain hopes of glory,*' jj^'^^ 
which is a consideration of wonderful repute in the 
worlds The other, " that it is a very useful impres-yicepv. 
" sion, as Plato says, that vices, when they escape Jbi*^^!^ 
*^ the discovery and cognizance of human justice, j«»tice af. 
" are stiU within the reach of the divine, which will^"****^' 
" pursue them even after the death of the guilty.** 
Man is excessively solicitous to prolong his being, 
and has, to the utmost of his power, provided for it : 
he lays his body in the earth to preserve it, and aims 
at glory to perpetuate his name : he has employed 
all his thoughts to the rebuilding of himself (uneasy 
at his fortune), and to prop himself by his inventions. 
The soul, by reason of its anxiety and feebleness, 
being unable to stand by itself, wanders up and 
down to seek out comfort, hope, and foundations, 
and alien circumstances, to which it adheres and 
fixes : and, how light or fantastic soever they 
are, relies more willingly, and with greater assurr 
ance upon them, than itself. But it is wonderful to 
observe, how short the most obstinate maintainefs 

* These words are taken fVom Seneca^s episUe 102, where he says 
to his ^end, that he took delight in his inquiry into the eternity ^ 
souls ; nay» that he believed h by an easy acquiescence in the opi- 
nions of the great men, who gave greater promises than prooft of 
a thing so very acceptable. 


of this 80 just and dear persuasion of the immortar 
lity of the soul do faU, and how weak their arga- 
ments are, when they go about to prove it by hur 
roan reason. Somnia sunt non docentis sed optantis^^ 
says one of the ancients.t By this testimony man 
may know, that he owes the truth he himself finds 
out, to fortune and accident ; since that even then^ 
when it is fallen into his hand, he has not wherewith 
to grasp and maintain it, and his reason has not 
force to avail himself of it. All things produced by 
reason and sufficiency, whether true or &lse, are 
subject to uncertainty and controversy. It was for 
the chastisement of our pride, and to convince us of 
our misery and incapacity, that God caused the per«> 
plexity and confusion at the tower of BabeL What- 
ever we undertake without his assistance, whatever 
we see without the lamp of his grace, is but vanity 
and folly. We corrupt and debase the very ess^ice 
of truth, which is uniform and constant, by our 
weakness, when fortune puts it into our possession. 
What course soever man takes of himsd^ God stiQ 
permits it to end in the same confusion, the imi^ 
whereof he so lively represents to us in the just chas* 
tisement wherewith he crushed Nimrod's presumption, 
and frustrated the vain attempt of his pyramid. Per^ 
dam sapientiam sapient um^ et prudentiam prudentium 
reprobo :t "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, 
'^ and will bring to nothing the understanding of the 
** prudent." The diversity of idioms and languages 
with which he disturbed this work, what is it else 
but the infinite and perpetual altercation and dis** 
cordance of opinions and reasons, which accompa- 
nies and confounds the vain building of human wis* 

♦ Cic. Acad, lib, iv. cap. S8. * 

f ** They are the dreams of a man, who wishes that things were 

'* tniQ» which he takes so paios to prove.** Cicero, in this passa^, 

ha» his aim only at Democritus, who, by suppoaiDg a vacauin and 

' atoms of different kinds, ridicialoudy pKteniW to account for the 

ibcmalion of all things* 

X 1 Cor. L 19. ' . 

RAIMOiai BE mBOKOB. ill 5 

dom ? And it is to v^ ^ood eflfect, that it does so. 
For what would hold us if we had bidt one grain of 
ksowiedge ? This saint has very much pleased me 
by saying, IpM veritatU occuUatioy aut humilitatis 
extrcUatio est ^ aut elationis attritio :* " The very 
^^ concealment of the truth tends either to exercise 
^ nan to humility, or to mort^ his pride." To 
what a pitch of presumption and insolence do we 
carry our blindness and roily ? 

But to return to my subject ; it was truly very good it if by fe. 
reason, that we should be beholden to God only, and a^J^^ 
to the &vour c^his grace, for the truth of so noble a oftbeioari 
belief, since from his' sole bounty we receive the}^"^*" 
6uit of immortaiitjr, which consists in the enjoy- 
ment of et^nal beatitude. Let us ingenuously con- 
jfess, ^t Ood Jk>ne has dictated it to us, and that 
£udi is its basis. ¥<x it is no lesson of nature fmd 
eur own reason. And whoever will make fresh trial 
of his own being and power, both within and with- 
out, without this divine privilege; whoever shall 
consider man without flattery, will see nothing in him 
of efficacy, nor faculty, that rehires of any thing but 
death and earth. The more we give and owe and 
render to God, we are the greater Christians. That 
which this stoic philosopher says, he held from the 
fortuitous consent of the popular voice; had it not 
been better, that he had held it from God ? dwi de 
ammorum itternitate dmerimus^ wn feve momentum 
at>zui nas habet cansemus haminumf aut timentium in^ 
jerosj aut colentiutn. Utor hac publica persuasioneA 
" When we discourse of the soul's immortality, the 
** consent of men, that either fear or adore the in- 
" femal power, is of no small moment to us, I 
^ make use of this public persuasion.'' 

Now the weakness of human reasoning, upon this what cdo. 
subject, is particularly manifest by the fiibulous argu- J^^"|7J^ 
ments they have superadded to this opinion, in or- uortaiil^. 

* Augustin. de Chrit. Deiy lib. xi. cap. 22« 
fSenecepist, U?- 


accoi^inic der to find out of what condition this inunortality 
phikMT^ of ours is. Let us omit the Stoics, who give to 
phen. souls a life ailer this, but finite. Usuram nobis lar^ 
giuntuvj tanquam comicibus ; diii mansuros aiunt atd^ 
mos : semper negant ;• " They give us a long life, 
^^ as also they do to crows ; they say the soul will 
^^ continue long ; but that it will exist always, they 
^' deny/' The most universal and received fancy, 
and which continues down to our times (in Persia) is 
that of which they make Pythagoras the author ; not 
that he was the original inventor, but because it re- 
ceived a great deal of weight and repute by the au- 
thority of his approbation, viz. *' That souls, at their 
^^ departure out of us, did nothing but shift from one 
V body to another, from a lion to a horse# from a 
^* horse to a king, continually travelling, at this rate, 
^^ from one habitation to another.'' And he him- 
self said, ^^ That he remembered he had been Atha- 
^* lides,t then Euphorbus, and aftarwards Hermoti- 
*^ mus ; and finally, from Pvrrhus, was passed into Py- 
^' thagoras, having remembered himsedf two hundred 
^^ and six years.'' And some have added, that the 
very same souls sometimes remount to heaven, and 
come down again : 

pafer^ anne aliauas ad ccelum hinc ire putandum est 
Sublimes animas tarda reverii 
Corpora P Quce lucis miseris tarn dira cupido }% 

O fiather, is it then to beconceiv'd. 

That anv of these spirits, so sublime, 

Should hence to the celestial regions climb. 

And thence return to eaith to re-assume 

Their sluggbh bodies rotting in a tomb ? 

For wretched life, whence does such fondness come ? 

Origen makes them eternally go and come, from a 
good to a worse estate. The opinion mentioned by 
Varro is, ths^ after four hundred and forty years re- 

* Cic. Tiisc, lib. i. cap. SI. 

+ Diogenes Laertius, in the life of PythagQras, )ib. viii. cap. 4, 5. 

t Virg. ^neid. lib. vi. ver. 719, Ac. 


Tolution, they are re-united to their first bodies. 
Chrysippus held, that this would happen after a cer* 
tain space of time not known or hmited. Plato* 
(who professes to have embraced this opinion from 
Pindar, and the ancient poets) thinking ^^ It is to 
^' undergo infinite vicissitudes of mutation, for which 
^* the soul is prepared, having neither punishment 
•' nor reward in the other world, but what is tempo- 
^* ral, as its life in this is but temporal, concludes 
^^ that it has a singular knowledge of the afiairs of 
^^ heaven, of hell, and of the world, through all 
^ which it has passed, repassed, and made stay in its 
** several voyages j matters enough for its memory/* 
Observe its progress elsewhere : ^^ The soul that has 
^^ lived well is re-united to the star to which he is 
<< assigned : Diat which has lived ill, removes into a 
^^ woman; and, if it do not then reform, is again 
^^ metamorphosed into a beast of a condition suita* 
^^ ble to its vicious manners, and shall see no end of 
^^ his punishments, till it be returned to its native 
^^ constitution, and has by the force of reason purged 
^^ itself from those gross, stupid, and elementary 
^^ qualities it was possessed with/' But I will not 
omit the objection the Epicureans make against this 
transmigration from one body to another, and a plea- 
sant one it is. Th^ ask, ^^ What should be done, 
>^ if the number of the dying should chance to be 
^^ greater than that of those who are coming into the 
^^ world ? for the souls, turned out of their old habi- 
<« tatton would tread on one another, striving first to 
>^ get possession of the new lodging/' And they 
farther demand, ^^ How they shall pass away their 
^^ time, whilst waiting till the new quarters were 
" made ready for them? Or, on the contrary, if 
^^ more animals should be bom than die, the IknI^, 
*^ they say, would be but in an ill condition, whilst m 
'* expectation of a soul to be infused into it ; and it 

* Id MeDone, p. 16, 17. 


^^ would fall out, that some bodies would die, befbra 
♦* they had been alive :*' 

Venique conmjm adveneriSf partusqueferarusttj 
Esse animas prcBsto deridictuum esse videtuTi 
Ei spectare immortales tnarialia membra 
Jnmimero numero, eertareque prcBproperanler 
Inter ^y qum prima potissimaque msmuetur.* 

^Tis fond to think that whilst wild beasts bega^ 
Or bear their young, a thousand soiils do vnk. 
Expect the felling bodyj fight and strive 
Which first shall enter in and make it live. 

Others have stopped the soul in the body of the 
deceased, wifii it to animate serpents, worms, and 
otlier vermin, which are said to be bred out of the cor* 
ruption of our members, and even out of our ashes; 
others divide the soul into two parts, the one mortal^ 
the other immortal. Others make it corporeal, and 
nevertheless immortal. Some make it immortal 
without science or knowledge. There are even some 
0f us who have believed, that devils were formed of 
the souls of the damned; and Plutarch thinks 
that gods were made of those that were saved. For 
there are few things which that author is ao po- 
sitive in, as he is in this ; maintaining elsewhere a 
doubtful and ambiguous way of expression, ^ We 
** are to hold," says he, " and steuastly to believe, 
^^ that the souls of virtuous men,bothaccoidingt6 na- 
^^ ture and the divine justice, become saints ; and ftom 
'^ saints, demi-gods ^ and from demi^gods, after they 
'^ are perfectl]^, as in sacrifices of purgation, clean- 
^ sed and punfied, being delivered from all passibi- 
^^ lity, and all mortality, they become, not b^ any 
*^ civil decree, but in real truth, and according to 
^ all probability oi reason, entire and perfect gods?, 
^^ in receiving a most happy and glorious end/' But 
whoever desires to see him, the man, I say, who is 
yet the most sober and moderate of tliue whole tribe of 

* Lucret lib. iiL ver. 707, &c. 


pli3o8opb6rs, hy about him with greater boldness, 
and relate his miracles upon this subject, I refer hun 
to his Treatise of the Moon, and his Daemon of So* 
crates, where he may, more evidently than in any 
other place whatever, satisfy himself, that the mys* 
Series of philosophy have many strange things in com* 
mon with those of poesy ; the human understanding 
losing itself, in attempting to sound and search all 
things to the bottom : even as we, tired and worn 
cmt with a long course of life, relapse into in&ncy. 
Thus much for the fine and certain instructions, 
which we extract from human science concerning 
the souL Neither is there less temerity in what it variety or 
teaches us touching our corporeal parts. Let us sin- S^JSj!*^ 
gle out one or two examples; for otherwise wetertbat 
should lose ourselves in this vast and troubled ocean fiTt^SS* 
of errors. We would first know, whether at least ^o^y- 
they agree about the matter, whereof men produce 
one another. For, as to their first production, it is 
no wonder, if, in a thing so sublime, and so long 
since past, human understanding finds itself puzzled 
and distracted. Archelaus the naturalist, whose dis* 
ciple and &vourite Socrates was, according to An- 
stoxenus, said, ^^ That both men and beasts were 
^' made of a lacteous slime, produced by the heat 
" of earth."* Pythagoras says, '* That our seed is 
** the firoth or cream of our better blood.''t Plato, 
^^ That it is the distillation of the marrow of the 
^^ back-bone ;"1^ and he raises his arguments from 
this ; *^ That that part is first sensible of lassitude in 
<* the«act.*' Alcmeon, " That it is part of the sub- 
^^ stance of the brain ; and that it is so,'' says he, 
^ appears from the weakness of eyes, in those who 
<< are overmuch addicted to that exercise."§ De* 
mocritus, *^ That it is a substance extracted from 
** the whole mass of the body." II Epicurus, " That 
*' it is extracted from soul and body."^ Aristotle, 

* Diogenes Laertius, in the Life of Arphelaw, lib. ii. sect. 17. 

f Plutarch de Pladtia PhiloBophoruED, lib. v. cap. S. 

% Ideii), ibid. j Idem, ibid. U Idem, ibid. f Idem) ibid. 


" That it is an excrement drawn from the aliment of 
** the last blood, which is diffused in our members,"* 
Others, " That it consists of the blood concocted 
" and digested by the heat of the genitals;" which 
they judge to be so, by reason that, in excessive et 
forts, a man voids pure florid blood ; wherein there 
seems to be the more likelihood, could any likeli- 
' hood be deduced from so infinite a confusion. 

By what Now, to bring this seed to operate, how many 
means the contrary opinions do they set on foot ? Aristotle and 
i^^io- Democritust are of opinion, " That women have 
liflc. « no sperm." Galen, on the contrary, and his fol- 
lowers, believe, " That, without the concurrence of 
" seeds, there can be no generation." 
Time of Here are the physicians, the philosophers, the 
^^J^SIncy lawyers, and divmes, together by the ears, with 
undetrr- Qur wivcs, about the dispute, upon ^hat terms wo- 
"*"**'' men bear their fruit : and I, for my part, by what I 
/ know myself, join those who maintam that a woman 
goes eleven months with child. The world is built 
upon this experience ; there is not so despicable a 
wife that cannot give her judgment in all these 
controversies, and yet we cannot agree. This is 
enough to prove, that man is no better instructed in 
the knowledge of himself, in his corporeal, than in 
his spiritual part. We have proposed himself to him- 
self, and his reason to his re^on, to see what it 
would say ; and, I think, I have sufficiently demon- 
strated how little it understands of itself. In ear- 
nest, Protagoras told us a pretty flam, in making 
man the measure of all things, who never knew so 
much as his own : § If it be not he, his dignity will 
not permit, that any other creature should have this 
advantage : now, he being so inconsistent in him^ 

* Plutarch de Placitis Philosophoruniy lib. v. cap. 3. 

X Plutarch adds Zeno to Aristotle, aiid says expressly, that Be- 
mocritus believed that the females shed their seed. De Placitis 
Philosophorum, lib. v. cap. 5. 

§ Apud Sext. Empiric, advers. Mathem. p. 148. 

self, and one judgment so incessantly subverting an- 
other, this favourable proposition was but a mockery, 
which induced us necessarily to conclude the no- 
thingness of the measure and the measurer. When 
Thales reputes the knowledge of m^n very difficult for 
man to attain to, he gives him to understand, that it 
was impossible for him to know any thing else. You, 
for whom I have taken the pains, contrary to my cus- 
tom, to write so long a discourse, will not refuse to 
maintain your Sebonde, by the ordinaryforms of argu- 
ing, wherewith you are every day instructed, and in 
this will exercise both your wit and study : for this 
last rule, in fencing, is never to be made use of, but 
as an extreme remedy. It is a desperate thrust, 
wherein you are to quit vour own arms, to make 
your adversary abandon his; and a secret slight, 
which must be very rarely and cautiously put in 
practice. It is great temerity to ruin yourself, that 
you may destroy another; you must not venture 
your life, to be revenged, as Gobrias did : for, being 
m close combat with a lord of Persia, Darius coming 
in with his sword in his hand, and fearing to strike 
lest he should wound Gobrias ; he called out to him 
boldly -to fall on, though he should run them both 
through at once. I have known the arms and des- 
perate conditions of single combat, wherein he, that 
offered them, put himself and his adversary upon 
terms of inevitable death to them both, censured 
for unjust. The Portuguese, in the Indian sea, took 
certain Turks prisoners, who, impatient of their cap- 
tivity, resolved to blow up the ship, with themselves 
and company; which they did accordingly, by 
striking the nails of the ship one against another, 
and making a spark fall into the barrels of powder 
that ysrere set in the place, where they were guarded. 
• We have here touched the utmost limits of the 
sciences,' wherein the extremity is vicious : as in 
virtue keep yourselves in the common road; it is 
not good to be so subtle and cunning : remember 
the Tuscan proverb ; 


Chi iroppo s'ttssottigliay si scaveftxa.* 

He that spins his thread too fine, will break it* 

I advise you, in all your opinions and discourses, 
as well as in your manners, and all other things, ta 
keep yourself in moderation and temperance, and to 
avoid novelty. I am an enemy to all extravagant 
ways : you, who by the authoritv you derive J&om 
your grandeur, and yet more oy the advantages 
which those qualities give you that are most your 
own, can, with a nod, command whom you please, 
ought to have given this caution to some professor 
of letters, who might have proved and illustrated 
these things to you in quite another manner : but 
here is as much as you will stand in need of. 
The Bfces- Epicurus Said of the laws, " that the worst were 
tokeepT'"" s^ necessary for us, that, without ti|em, men 
men in or- " would dcvour onc auothcr.*' And Plato proves, 
^' " that, without laws, we should live like beasts.*^ 
Our wit is a rambling, dangerous, and rash tool : it 
is hard to affix any rule or measure to it : as for the 
men of my time, we see that almost all who are en- 
dued with any rare excellence above others, and 
any extraordinary vivacity, launch out into a licen- 
tiousness of opinions and manners ; and it is a mira- 
cle to find one that is sober and sociable. It is right 
to confine human wit within the strictest limits pos- 
sible. 'In study, as in other tilings, its inquiry 
ought to be confined within certain bounds. It is 
curbed and fettered by religions, laws, and customs, 
by science, precepts, punishments and rewards, 
mortal and immortal ; and yet we see, that by its 
volubility and dissoluteness, it escapes from all these 
restraints. It is a thin body, which has nothing to 
hold or handle it by ; a various and shapeless body, 
incapable of being either tied or touched. In truth, 
there are few souls so regular, firm, and well bred, 
as tp be trusted with their own conduct, and that 

• Proverb. 

can^ with moderatioii^ and witfacmt temerity, sail 
tn the liberty of their own judgments, beyond the 
common opinions. It U more expedient to put 
tfaem under guardianship: wit is a dangerous wea- 
pon, even to the possessor, if he knows not how to 
use it discreetly ; and there is not a beast for which 
a head board is more necessary to hinder him from 
wandering, here and there, out of the tracks which 
custom and the laws have made for him. There- 
fore it will much better become you to keep yourself 
in the beaten path, let it be what it will, than to 
take a flight with such unbridled licence. But if 
any of these new doctors will pretend to be inge- 
nious in your presence, at the expense both of your 
fioul and his own ; in order to be safe from this dan- 
gerous plague, which spreads daily in your way, this 
preservative, in extreme necessity, will prevent the 
poison from hurting either you or your company. 

The liberty, therefore, and gaiety of the ancientThe 
wits, produced in philosophy, and the human^^J™^*'" 
sciences, several sects of different opinions, .eveiTWi4h«|by 
one un^rtaldng to judge and make choice of hisJJ^^jy"*"" 
part^. But now that men go all one way: Qui 
eertts quibusdam destinatisque sententiis addicti €% 
cansecrati sunty ut etiam^ qua non probanty cogan- 
iur defendere ;* " Who are so devoted to certain de- 
*• termined articles of belief, that th^ are bound to 
•* defend even those they do not approve." And 
now that we receive the arts by civil authority and 
decree, insomuch that the schools have but one ' 

Sittern, and a like circumscribed institution and 
Mipline, we no more take notice what the coin 
weighs, and is worth, but every one, in his turn, 
receives it according to the value that the common 
approbation and currency puts upon it: the alloy is 
not disputed, but how much it goes for; and, in 
like manner, all things are at par. The tricks q£ 

« Cic. TuBc. QyjOB^ Iib# il. oap. S. 



hocus pocus, enchantments, correspondence with 
the souls of the dead, prognostications, and even 
the ridiculous ptu'suit of the philosopher's stone, all 
pass current, without scruple. We need to know 
no more, than that Mars*s house is in the middle of 
the triangle of the hand, that of Venus in the thumb, 
and that of Mercury in the little finger ; that, when 
sigu of the table line cuts the tubercle or ball of the fore- 
^"'**^' finger, it is a sign of cruelty; that when it falls 
short of the middle finger, and the natural median 
line makes an angle with the line of life, in the same 

^le toth ^^^^' ^^ ^^ ^ ®^^ ^^ * miserable death ; that if, in a 
'woman, the natural line be open, and does not 
Of uDcbat- close the angle with the vital, it denotes that she 
tity. ^u not be very chaste. I leave you to judge, whe- 
ther a man thus qualified, may not pass, with repu- 
tation and favour, in all companies. 
Tiic extent^ Theophrastus said, ** That human knowledge, 
knowiSge. " guidcd by the senses, might judge of the causes 
XA^^ v>^v>\ *' of things to a certain degre^ but that, when 
V A U> ** *^^y arrived to the first and extreme causes, it 
'f^ ^ " mast stop short, by reason either of its own infir- 

" mity, or the difficulty of investigation." It is a 
pioderate and gentle opinion, that our own under- 
standings may conduct us to the knowledge of some 
things, and that it has certain bounds, beyond which 
it is rashness to employ it. This opinion is plausi- 
ble ; but it is hard to limit our wit ; it is curious and 
inquisitive, and will no more stop at a thousand, 
than at fifty paces : having myself experimentally 
found, that on the thing wherein one has failed, ano- 
ther has hit ; that what was unknown to one age, 
the age following has explained ; and that the arts 
and sciences are not cast in a mould, but formed and 
perfected by degrees, by often handling and polish- 
ing, as bears leisurely lick their cubs into shape : 
what I JuLve not strength to discover, I do not yet 
desist to sound and try it, but by handling and 
kneading this new matter oyer again, and by turning 


and heating it, I pave the way for him that should 
succeed me, to enjoy it more at his ease, and render 
it more manageable and supple for him : 

Ut Hymeltia sole 

Cera remoUescitj tractataque pollice muUas 
Vertitwr infacies, ipsoqueJU utilis usu.* 

As wax more fluid in the sun becomes, 
And temper'd 'tween the fingers and the thumbs. 
Will various forms, and several shapes admit. 
Till for the present use 'tis rendered fit. 

As much will the second do to the third, which is 
the cause that the difficulty ought not to make me 
despair, and my own imbecility as little ; for it is 

nobody's but my own. Man is capable of all things, The 

as well as of some : " And if he confesses,** as Theo- |"^^J^^ 
phrastus says, ^' the ignorance of first causes and bie or at- 
" and principles, let him surrender to me all the^"'^^^ 
** rest of his Knowledge :*' if he is defective in foun- knowifd^c 
dation, his reason is on the ground : disputation and "'***"«^ 
inquisition have no other aim nor stay but princi*- 
ples ; if this do not stop his career, he wavers ad in^ 
Jinitum. Non potest aliud alio magis mintisve com^ 
prehendij quonium omniam rerum una est definitio 
comprehendi ;t " One thing is equally comprehen- 
** sible with another, because the rule of compre-' 
•* bending all things is one and the same." Now 
it is very ukely, that, if the soul knew any thing, it 
would, m the first place, know itself; and, if it knew 
any thing out of itself, it would be its own body 
and case before any thing else. If we see the gods 
of physic, to this very day, debating about our afljpt'* 

— -«- Midciber in Trnjam, pro Trqja stahat ApoUo.t 
Vulcan against, for Troy Apollo stood. 

When axe we to expect, that they will be agreed? 

* Ovid. Metam. lib. x. fab. 8, ver. 42. 
•f Cic. Acad. Quest. lib. iv. cap. 41. 
i Ovid. Trist. lib. i. eL 2, ver.5. 
TOL. lU Q 


We are neaxer neighbours to oui^elves.than tlie 
whiteness of snow, or the weight of stone, are to us. 
If m^n does pot know himself; how should he know 
his forces and functions ? No q^uestion we have some 
true knowledge in us, but it is by chance ; and as 
errors are received into our soul the same way, ^er 
the same manner, and by the same conduct, it has 
not wherewithal to distinguish them, nor to choose 
'iMi^Jfthe*^® truth from falsehood; The Academics admit- 
AcTdnBics ted a certain inclination of judgment, and thought it 
ttb^ 7^ *^^ crude to say, that it was not more likely, that 
fMd«d ai snow was white than black ; and that we were not more 
PyJrho^* assured of the motion of a stone, thrown by the hand, 
suti. than that of the eighth sphere. To avoid this difficulty, 
which cannot, in truth, easily lodge in our imagina- 
tion, though they concluded, that we were not ca- 
pable of knowledge, and the truth is ingulphed in so 
profound an abyss, that it is not to be penetrated 
by human sight ; yet they acknowledged some things 
to be more likely than others, and admitted that 
they had a power to incline to one appearance more 
than another: they allowed it tliis propensity, but 
excluded all resolution. Tlie Pyrrhonists' opinion 
is more solid, and also more probable : for this Aca- 
demic inclination, and this propensity to one propo- 
sition rather than another, what is it but an acknow- 
ledgment of some more apparent truth in this, than 
in that? If our understanding be capable of disco- 
vering the form, lineaments, and face of truth, it 
might as well see it entire, as by halves, in its birth 
and imperfection. This appearance of probability, 
which makes them rather incline to the lefl than to 
the right, augments it : multiply this ounce of veri- 
similitude, that turns the scales to a hundred, to a 
thousand ounces, it will happen, in the end, that the 
balance will, itself, end the controversy, and deter- 
mine one choice, and one entire truth. But how do 
they suffer themselves to incline to verisimilitude, if 
they know not the truth ? How should they know 
the probability of that, whereof they do not know 


(he essence : either we can absolutely judge, or ab- 
solutely we cannot. If our intellectual and sensible 
iuculties are without footing or foundation; if they 
only waver and totter, it is to no purpose that we 
suffer our judgment to be carried away with any 
thing of their operation, what appearance soever it 
may seem to present us : and the surest and most 
happy seat of our understanding would be that, 
where it kept itself serene, upright, and inflexible, 
without tottering, and without agitation. Inter 
visay vera^ autfalsa^ ad animi assensutrij nihil inter^ 
est ;* " Amongst things that are seen, whether true 
** or fake, it signifies nothing to the assent of 
•* the mind.** That things do not lodge in us in 
their form and essence, and do not there make 
their entry by their own force and authority, we 
plainly see : because, if it were so, we should receive 
them after the same manner : wine would have the 
same relish with the sick, as with the healthy : he 
who has his finger chopped or benumbed, would find 
the same hardness in wood or iron, which he handles^ 
that another does. Sti'ange subjects then surrender 
themselves to our mercy, and are seated in us as we 
please : now if, on our part, we received any thing 
without alteration, if human grasp were capable and 
strong enough to seize on truth by our own means^ 
these means being common to ail men, this truth 
would be conveyed from hand to hand, from one to 
another ; and, at least, there would be some one 
thing to be found in the world, amongst so many as 
there are, that would be believed, by men, with an 
universal consent. But, as there is no one proposi- 
tion, that is not debated and controverted amongst 
us, or that may not be, this makes it very manifest, 
that our natural judgment does not, very clearly, 
discern what it embraces : for my judgment cannot 
jfnake my companion approve of what it approves; 

* Cic. Acad. lib. iv, cap. 28. 


nsrhich 18 a sign that I seized it b^ some. other means^ 
than by a natural power that is in me, and in all 
oth^r men. Let us Jay aside this infinite confusion 
of opinions, nvhich we see even amongst the philo^ 
sophers themselves, and this perpetual and universal 
dispute about the knowledge of things ; for it is ad-> 
mitted, tiiat men, I mean the most knowing, the 
best bred, and of the best parts, are not agreed 
about any one thing ; not that heaven is over our 
heads ; for they who doubt of every thing, also doubt 
of th^t } aijd they who deny that we able to com- 

Erehend any thing, say, that we have not compre- 
ended that the heaven is over our heads ; and these 
two opinions are, without comparison, the strongest 
Tbcniim. ^n number. Besides, this infinite diversity and divi- 
wilfch sion, through the trouble which our judgment gives 
rreryoDe oursclves, and the uncertainty that every one finds 
ceiTe^'hisin himse}f, it is easy to perceive that its seat is very 
wijMdg- unstable. How variously do we judge 6f things I 
"*" How often do we alter our opinions ? What I hold and 
believe to-d?iy, 1 hold and believe with my whole be* 
lief: all my instruments and engines take fast hold of 
this opinion, and bccpme responsible to me for it, as 
much as in them lies ; I could not embrace nor preserve 
any truth with greater assurance, than I do this. I am 
wholly and entirely possessed with it : but has it not 
befallen me not only onpe, but a hundred, nay a thou- 
sand times, and every day to have embraced some other 
notion with all the same instruments, and in the same 
condition, which I have afterwards judged to be 
false ? A man must, at least, become wise at his own 
expense. If I have often found myself betrayed 
under this colour ; if my touch prove ordinarily 
false, and my b^ance unequal and unjust, what as- 
surance can I now have, more than at others ? Is it 
not stupidity and mildness to suffer myself to be so 
often deceived by my guide ? nevertheless, let for* 
tune remove us five hundred times from place to 
place ; let her do nothing but incessantly empty and 
fill into our belief, as fnto a, vessel, various other opi- 


nions, vet still the present and -the last is the certain 
and infallible ; for this we must abandon goods, ho- 
nour, life, health, and all : 

Posterior res iUe reperta 

Perdit, et immutat sensus adprislina quceque.* 

The last things we find oijf. are always best. 
And give us a disrelish of the rest. 

Whatever is preached to us, and whatever we learn, 
we dhould still remember, that it is man that gives, 
and man that receives ; it is a mortal hand that pre* 
sents it to us, it is a mortal hand that accepts it. The 
■ things that come to us from heaven, have the sole 
right and authority of persuasion,, they only have 
the stamp of truth ; which also we do not see with 
our own eyes, nor receive by our own means : this 
great an,d sacred image could not abide in so wretch- 
. ed a habitation, if God, for this end, did not prepare 
it, if God did not, by his particular and supematu- 
nd grace and favour, reform and fortify it ^ at least 
our frail condition ought to make us comport our- 
selves with more reservedness and moderation in our 
changes. We ought to remember, that, whatever 
we receive into the understanding, we often receive 
things that are false, and that it is by the same in- 
struments that so often give themselves the lie, and 
are often deceived. Now, it is no wonder theyibejodg. 
should contradict themselves, being so easy to beJJf„",^^*jL 
turned and swayed by very light occurrences. It ismuchontnc 
certain, that our apprehensions, our judgment, andof*2?b^y. 
the faculties of the soul in general, suffer according 
to the movements and alterations of the body, which 
alterations are continual : are not our wits more 
sprightly, our memories quicker, and our diso)$urses 
more lively in health, than in sickness ? Do not joy 
and gaiety make us receive subjects' that present 
themselves to our souls, in quite another light, than 
care and melancholy ? Do you believe, that Catul- 

• Lucret. lib. v. ver. HIS; 


lus's verses, or those of Sappho, please an old doti^ig 
miser, as tliey do a youth that is vigorous and amor- 
ous ? Cleomenes, the son of Anaxandridas, being 
sick, his friends reproached him, that he had hu- 
mours and whimsies which were new and unaccus- 
tomed : " I believe it,"* said he, " neither am I 
*' the same man now, as when I am in health : be- 
^' ing now another creature, my opinions and fancies 
** are also different from what they were before*'* 
In our courts of justice, this word is much in use, 
which is spoken of criminals, when they iin4 the 
judges in a good humour, gende, and mild; Gdudeat 
de bonafo7*tuna : " Let him rejoice in his good for- 
** tune :** for it is certain, that men's judgments are 
sometimes more prone to condemn, more crabbed 
and severe, and at others more easy, and inclined to 
excuse. He that carries with him from his house the 
pain of the gout, jealousy, or theft by his man, hav« 
ing his whole soul possessed with grief and anger, it is 
not to be doubted but tiiat his judgment will lean that 
way. That veneraWe senate of l£e Areopagites was 
want to hoki their courts by night, lest the sight of 
the parties might corrupt their justice. The veiy 
air itself and the serenity of the sky, cause some 
change in us, according to these Greek verses in Ci- 
cero : 

Tales sunt hominum menteSf quales paler ipse 
Jupiter y auctifera bistravit Inmpade terras,^ 

Men's minds are influenc'd by th' external air^ 
Dark or serene, as da}^ are foul or fisur. 

Not only fevers, debauches, and great accidents 
overthrow our judgment; the least things in the 
world whirl it about : we may be sure, though we 
are not sensible of it, that, if a continued fever 
can overwhelm the soul, a tertain will in some de- 
gree alter it If an apoplexy stupifies and totally 
extinguishes our understanding, a great cold will un* 

* Plutarch, in his Notable Sayings of the Lacedsmonians. 
t Cicero's Fragmenta Poematum. 


dcmbtedlyaflfect it: consequently, there is hardly 
one single hour in a man's whole life, wherein our 
judgment is in its due state, our bodies being sub- 
ject to so many continual mutations, that I believe 
the physicians when they say, that there is always 
some one or other out of order; 

As to what remains, this malady does not very The wnu 
easily discover itself, unless it be extreme and ptstJ^^oJ^ 
remedy ; because reason goes alwap lame and nob-iM>t f^y ^o 
bling, as well with falsehood, as with truth, and there- 1^*"^ 
fere it is hard to discover its deviations and mistakes. 
I always call that appearance of mediation, which 
every one forges in himself, reason : this reason, of 
which there may be a hundred different sentiments 
on the same subject, is an instrument extremely 
ductile, and pliable, to all biasses and measures; so 
that nothing is wanted but the art how to turn and 
wind it. Let a judge mean ever so well, if he be 
not very circum^ect, his inclination to friendship, 
to relation, to beauty, or revenge, and not only things 
of such weight, but even the rortuitous instinct that 
makes us favour one thing more thian another, and 
which, without reason's leave, affects our choice ; or 
some shadow, of like vanity, may insensibly insinuate 
^nto his judgment, the recommendation or dis&vour 
of a cause,' and niake the balance dip. I, that watch 
myself as narrowly as I can, and that have my eyes 
continually bent upon myself, like one that has no 
great business elsewhere to do. 

• Quis sub arcto 
Rex selidae meiuatur orcBy 
ITyridalem terreaty unid 

I care not who the northern climes reveres 
Or what's the king whom Tyridates fears. 

dare hardly tell the vanity and weakness I find in 
myself. My footing is so unstable and slippery, I 
find myself so apt to totter and red^ and my sight 

» Hor. lib. i. ode $6, ver. S, ^ 


60 disordered, that fasting, I am quite finother inan, 
than when full : if health and a fair day smile upon 
me, I am a good-natured man ; if a com trouble my 
toe, I am sullen, out of humour, and not to be seen. 
The saQie pace of a horse seems to be one while hard, 
and another easy ; and the same road one while 
shorter, and another longer; and the same form 
one while more, and another less taking : I am one 
while for doing every thing, and another for doing no- 
thing at all; and what pleases me now, would be a trou« 
hie tome at another time. I am subject fa a thou* 
sand senseless and casual humours within myself: 
either I am possessed by melancholy, or swayed by 
choler; now by its own private authority, sadness 
predominates in me, and by and hf I am' as merry as 
' a cricket. )\ When I take a book in hand, I have men 
discovered admirable graces in some particular pas- 
sages, and such as have struck my soul ; at another 
time, I may turn and toss, tumble and rattle the 
, leaves over and over, and not see any sense or beauty 
] in it. Even in my own writings, I do not always 
; find the air of my first fancy : I know not what I 
! woijild have said, but am oflen put to it to correct 
1 and find out o, new sense, because I have lost the 
I first that was better. I am ever in motion : my 
I judgment does not always advance, but floats and 


roams : ^vv^ 

Felut nmuta magnq 

Deprensa navis in mart vesanienie vefUo.^ 
Like a small bark that's toss*d upon the main. 
When winds tempestuous heave the liquid pkin. 

Very often (as I am apt to do) having, for the sake 
of exercise and argument, undertaken to maintain 
an opinion contrary to my own, my mind, bending 
and applying itself that way, attaches me to it so 
thoroughly, thait I no more discern the reasoi> of my 
iformer belief, and forsake it: I am, as it were, 
drawn in by the side to which I incline, be it what it 



will, and carried away by my own weight. Every 
person, I believe, would acknowledge the same 
weakness, if he considered himself, as I do. 

Preachers very well know, that the emotions which 
steal upon them in speaking, animate them towards 
belief; and that, in passion, we are more obstinate 
in the defence of our proposition, are more deeply 
impressed by it, and embrace it with greater vene- 
mence and approbation, than we do in our cooler 
«nd calmer state. You only give your council a 
simple breviate of yoiu- cause, he returns you a du- 
bious and uncertain answer, by which you find him 
indifferent, which side he takes : have you fee'd 
him wellj that he may relish it the better ; does he 
begin to be really concerned, and do you find him 
zealous fer you ? His reason and learning will, by 
the same degrees, grow hot in your cause ; behold 
mi apparent and undoubted truth presents itself to 
his understanding ; he discovers a new light* in your 
business, and does in good earnest belibve and 
pereuade himself that it is so : nay, I do hot know, 
whether the ardour that springs from spite and obsti- 
nacy against the power and violence of the magis- 
trate and danger, or the interest of reputation, 
may not have made a man, even at the stake, main- 
tain the opinion, for which, at liberty, and among9t 
friends, he would not have burned his finger. 'Die 
shodcs and jostles that the soul receives from the . 
corporeal passions, can do much in it, but its own 
can do a great desd more ; to which it is so subject- 
ed, that perhaps it has no other pace and motion, 
but from the mowing of those winds, without the 
a^tation of which, it would be becalmed, like a 
ship in the middle of the sea, to which the winds 
have denied their assistance : and whoever should 
maintain this, siding with the Peripatetics, would 
do us no great wrong, because it is very well 
known, that the greatest part of the most noble 
actions of the soul proceed from, and stand in 
need of, this impulse of the passipns. Valour, 


fjiey say, cannot be perfect without the assistance, 
of anger: 

Semper Ajaxfortis, fbrtissimns tgmen infyrore.* 
Ajax was always brave, but most when mAd. 

Neither do we encounter the wicked and the enemy 
vigorously enough, if we be not angry; nay, the 
advocate is to inspire the judges with indignation, to 
obtain justice, 
ihvgiiiar Strong desires animated Themistocles and Deniosi* 
JJJJJlJ^' thenes ; they put the philosophers upon watching^ 
•a4accom.&sting, and pilgrimages ; and they lead us to honour^ 
mtshio. l^niing, and healtib, which are all very usefiidi 
log virtues, ends. And this meanness of soul, while it suffers 
vexation and trouble, serves to breed penitesc^ and 
repentance in the conscience, and to make us sensi^ 
ble of the scourge of God, and of political correcr 
tion for the chastisement of our ofiences. Compass 
sion is a spur to clemency and prudence; the pru- 
dence of preserving and governing ourselves is 
roused by our fear ; and how many brave actions 
by ambition ? How many by presumption ? In short, 
there is no eminent and sprightly virtue, without 
some irregular agitation, 
wby the Was it uot ouc of the reasons which moved the 
mi^dii. ^icur^ans to discharge God from all care and solif 
<Biuurgrd citudc of our oSairs, that even the effects of his 
ftS^nlif '^goodness could not be exercised in our behalf» with* 
kind o/ out disturbing his repose, by the means of the pas^ 
**^ sions, which are so may incentives, like spurs, to 
prick on the soul to virtuous actions ? Or^ did they 
think otherwise, and take them for tempests, that 
shamefully hurry the soul from her tranquillity ? Ut 
maris tranquillitas intelligitur^ nuUa^ ne minima qui* 
demy aurd fluctus commw)ente : sic animi quietus et 
placatus status cernitur^ quum perturbatio nulla est 
qud> moveri queat :t *^ As it is underwood to be a 
«< calm sea, when there is not the least breath of 

« Cic. Tusc lib. iv. ver. 2S. f Idem, lib. v. cap. & 

BAIMOND 0£ SEBaND£* 23& 

^ air isticraig; so the state of the soul is qui^t 
*^ and placid, when there is no perturbation to 
** move it.** 

What variety of sentiments and reason, what con- whatef. 
trariet^ of imagination does the diversity of our pas- owing^ 
sions mspire us with? What assurance then can we<^<>*v<^''- 
take of a thing so mobile and unstable, subject, by putiou!'^ 
its condition, to the dominion of trouble, and never 
going other than a forced and borrowed pace ? If 
our judgment be in the power even of sickness and 
perturbation ; if it be from folly and temerity, that 
it is held to receive the impression of things ; what 
security can we expect from it ? 

Is it not a great boldness in philosophy to judge, Thentumi 
that men perform the greatest actions, and such as ^n^^i^ 
nearest approach the divinity, when they are furious, ^ cabinet 
mad, and beside themselves? The two natural ways**^^*^*^* 
to enter into the cabinet of the gods, and there to 
foresee the course of destiny, are fiiry and . sleep. 
This is pleasant to consider. By the dislocation that 
the passions cause in our reason, we became vir- 
tuous : by its extirpation, occasioned by madness, 
or by sleq>, the image of death, we become diviners 
and prophets. I was never so willing to believe phi- 
losophy in any thing, as this. It is a pure enthu- 
siasm, wherewith sacred truth has inspired the spirit 
of philosophy, which makes it confess, contrary to 
its own proposition, that the calm, composed, and 
most heaithfid state of the soul, that philosophy can 
seat it in, is not its best condition : our waking is 
more a sleep than sleep itself; our wisdom npt so 
wise as fdlly ; our dreams are worth more than our 
meditations ; and the worst place we can take is in 
ourselves. But does not philosophy think, we are 
wise enough to consider, that the voice which the 
spirit utters, when dismissed from man, so clean- 
sighted, so great, and so perfect, and, whilst it is in 
man, so terrestrial, ignorant, and dark, is a voice 
proceeding from the spirit of a dark, terrestrial, and 



ignorant man, and, for this reason, a voice not to 
be trusted and believed i 
ivbatan I have no great experience of these vehement agi- 
JJ|J*^^*n tations (being of a soft and heavy complexion), the 
•f loTc basmost of which surprise the soul, on a sudden, with- 
m^t^ out giving it leisure to recollect itself: but the pas- 
■uAd- sion, that is said to be produced by idleness, in the 
hearts of young men, though it poceed leisurely, 
and with a moderate progress, evidently manifests, 
to those who have tried to oppose its power, the vio- 
lence our judgment suffers in this alteration and con- 
version. I have formerly attempted to withstand 
and repel it : for I am so lar from being one of those 
who invite vices, that I do not so much as follow 
them, if they do not drag me along : I perceived ft 
to spring, grow, and increase in spite of my resist- 
ance y and, at last, though my eyes were open, it 
wholly seized and possessed me ; so that, as if newly 
roused from drunkenness, the images of things be- 
gan to appear to me ouite other than they were 
wont to be : I evidently saw the person I desired 
grow and increase in beauty, and expand and blow 
fairer by the influence of my imagination ; and, as 
the difficulties of my attempt grew more easy and 
smooth, both my reason and conscience drew back ; ' 
but, this fire being evaporated in an instant, as a 
flash of lightning, my soul resumed another state, 
and another jud^ent. The difficidties of my re- 
treat appeared great and invincible, and the same 
things had quite another taste and aspect, thsm 
those which me heat and desire had represented to 
me ; than which Pyrrho himself knows nothing more 
truly : we are never without sickness ; agues have 
their hot and cold fits ; from the effects of an ardent 
passion, we fall again to those of a shivering one ; as 
much as I had advanced, so much I retired : 

Qtiolis tibi aliemu procurrens gttrgUe ponhis, 
Ntmc ruit ad terras scopulisque niperiacit vndamy 
Spumeus, exirenumque $mu perJumU arenam : 


Niinc rapidus retroj atque cestti revcluia Tesorlen$ ^ 

Saxafugit, liUusque vado labente relinqvitf 

So swelling surges, with a thund*ring roar, 
Driv'n on each other's backs^ insult the shore ; 
Bound o*er the rocks, incroach upon the land. 
And from the bottom throw up shoals of sand ; 
Then backward, rapidly, they take their way, 
Rollmg the rattlingpebbles to thesea. 

Now from the knowledge of this volubility of mine, why mmi. 
I have accidentally begot, in myself, a certain coix-n**f^^uy 
stancy of opinions, and have not much altered those «>i>«»«« 
that were first and natural in me : for, what appear- J[|J!^^' 
ance soever there may be in novelty, I do not easily 
chsmge, for fear of losing by the bargain \ and, be- 
sides, I am not capable of choosing ; I take other 
men's choice, and continue in the station wherein 
God has placed me; I could not otherwise keep 
myself from perpetual rolling. Thus have I, by 
the grace of God, preserved myself entire, in the 
ancient tenets of our religion, without disturbance 
of mind, or trouble of conscience, amidst so many 
sects and divisions as our age has produced. The 
writings of the ancients, the best authors I mean, 
being full and solid, tempt, and carry me, which 
way almost they will : he, that I am reading, seems 
always to have the most force, and I find that every 
one, in turn, has reason, though they contradict 
one another. The facility that good wits have of 
rendering every thing probable which they would 
recommend; and there being nothing so strange, 
to which they do not understand to give colour 
enough to deceive such a simplicity as mine ; this 
evidently shows the weakness of tneir testimony. 
The heaven and the stars have been three thousand 
years in motion, and all the world were of that be- 
lief, till Cleanthes the Samian,t or (according to 

* JEneid, lib, xi. ver. 624, &c. 

f Plutarch, in his Treatise of the face that appears in the Moon's 
Orb, cap. 4, where he says, that Aristarchus was of opinion, that the 
(yreciaos ought to have brought Cleanthes, of $iunoB, to justice, and 


Theophrastus) Nicetas, of Syracuse, affirmed, that it 
was the eardi which moved about its axis through 
the oblique circle of the zodiac. And Copernicus 
has, in oiir time, so demonstrated this doctrine, that 
he very regularly makes use of it in accounting for 
all astrological consequences. What can we infef 
from it, but that we ought not much to care which 
is the true opinion? And who knows but that a 
^ f.^0 third, a thousand years hence, may rise, and over- 
^J---^ throw the two former ? 

sic volvenda cetas commuiat tempora rehim, 
Quodjidt in prelio^ Jit nuUo deniaue honore, 
Porro aliud succedity et e confefnptiOus exit, 
Inque dies magis appetitnr, Jkretque repertum 
LaudihnSj et miro est mcrtales inter hmoreJ^ 

Thus ev'ry thing is chang'd in course of time. 
What now is vaJu'd, passes soon iis prime ; 
To wliich some other thing, despisM before, - 
Succeeds, and ^rows in vo^e still more and more ; 
And once receiv'd, too famt all praises seem, • 
So highly it is rais'd in men's esteem. 

-Why new So that, whcu any new doctrine presents itself to 
•relo Ss ™» ^® ^^"^^ "^^ great reason to mistrust it ; and to 
diitruccd. cousider, that, before that was set on foot, the con- 
trary had been generally received ; and that, as that 
has been overthrown by this, a third invention may 
st^rt up in time to come, and damn the second. 
Aristotie*s Before the principles that Aristotle introduced, wer^ 
fn voiSl? ^° reputation, other principles contented human 
reason, as these satisfy us now. What patent have 

to have condemned him for blarohemy against the gods, for giving 
out» that the heavens remained immoveable^ and that it was the 
earth which moved through the oblique circle of the zodiac turning 
round its own axis. But, as it appears elsewhere, that Aristarchus, 
of Samos, did believe the earth's motion, there must be some mis- 
take in this place, as is the opinion of Menage, who, by a little va- 
riation only of Plutarch's text, makes him say, not that Aristarchus 
meant to accuse Cleanthes of impiety, for having maintained the 
earth's motion, but that, on the contrary, Cleanthes would have im- 
puted it to Aristarchus, as a crime. See Menage, in his Commen* 
tary upon Diogenes, lib. viii. sect 85, p. S88, 989. 
* Lucret. lib. v. ver. 15ff5, d'p. 


theae opinions, what paiticalar privilege, that the 
career of our invention must be stopped by them, 
and that to them should appertain tne sole posses* 
sion of our future belief? They are no more exempt 
from being thrust out of doors than their predeces^ 
sors were. When any one presses me with a new argu* 
ihent, I ought to bdieve, that what I cannot answer, 
another can; for to believe all likelihoods, that a 
man cannot confute, is great simplicity : it would, 
by that means, come to pass, that all the vulgar 
(and we are all of the vulgar) would have their beUef 
as changeable as a weathercock : for the soul being 
so easily in^posed upon, and so non-resisting, must 
incessantly receive impressions, the last still cueing 
all traces of that whicn went before. He that finds 
himself weak, ought to answer according to modern 
practice, that he will speak with his counsel, or 
refer himself to the sages, from whom he received 
his instruction. How long is it that physic has been 
practised in the world ? It is said, that a new comer, 
called Paracelsus, changes and overthrows the whole 
order of ancient rules, and maintains, that, till now, 
it has been of no other use, but to kill men. I do 
believe, that he will easily make this good ; but l^ 
do not think it were great wisdom to venture my 
life in making trial of his new experience. " We 
" are not to believe every one (says the precept) 
" because every one can sav all things.** A man of 
this stamp, who was much given to novelty and 
physical reformation, not long since, told me, 
'* That all the ancients were notoriously mistaken in 
^* the nature and motions of the winds, which he 
^^ would evidently demonstrate to me, if I would 
" give him the hearing.** After I had, with some 
patience, heard his arguments, which were all ful^ 
of probability : " What then,** said I, " did those 
'^ that sailed according to the rules of Theophrastus^ 
** make way westward, when they had the prow to- 
^ wards the east ? Did they go sideward or back- 
^^ ward ?** ^* Hiatiaas it happened,** answ^ed he ; 


^^ but 80 it is, that they are mistaken.'' I then re- 
plied, " That I had rather be governed by facts than 
*^ reason/' Now, these are things that often clash, 
and I have been told, that, in geometry (which, of 
all sciences, pretends to the highest point of cer- 
tainty), there are demonstration9 whicn subvert the 
truth of all experience. As Jaques Pelletier told 
me, at my own house, that ^^ He had found out two 
*^ lines, stretching one towards the other to meet, 
** which nevertheless he affirmed, though extended 
** to all infinity, would never touch one another." 
The Pyrrhonians make no other use of their argu- 
ments and their reason, than to contradict expe- 
rience ; and it is a wonder how far the suppleness of 
our reason has followed them in this design of con- 
troverting the evidence of facts : for they affirm^ 
** That we do not move, that we do not speak, and 
•* that there is neither weight nor heat," with the 
same force of argument, with which we prove the 
most probable things. Ptolemy, who was a great 
man, had established the bounds of this world of 
purs ; and all the ancient philosophers thought they 
had the measure of it, excepting some straggling 
islands, that might escape their knowledge. It had 
been Pyrrhonism, a thousand years ago, to doubt 
of the science of cosmc^raphy, and of the opinions 
that every one had thence received : it was heresy 
to believe there were antipodes; and, behold, in 
this age, there is an infinite extent of firm land dis- 
covered, not an island, or a particular country, but 
a part almost as great as that we knew before. The 
geographers of our time stick not to assure us, that 
now all is found, and all is seen : 

Nam quod adest prcesto^ placet^ et pottere tndeturJ* 
What present pleases, and appears the best. 

But I would fain know, whether, if Ptolemy was 
deceived, upon the foundation of his reason, it were 

* Lucret. lib. t% ver. lil 1. 


not fblly in me to trust now to what these people 
say: and whether it is not more likely, that this 
great body, which we call the world, is quite an- 
other thing, than what we imagine. 
Plato says, " That it changes countenance in all ser^rai 

" respects: that the heavens, the stars,: and the sun, conclrnuir 
," have all of them sometimes motions retrograde to *^« ''^^'i** 
>* what we see, changing east into west.** Thp 
Egyptian priests toW Herodotus, " That, from the 
*• time of their first king,, which was eleven thou^ 
^' sand and odd years (and they shewed him th^ 
^ effigies of aU their kings, in statues taken from 
^^ the life), the sun had four times altered his 
** course:* that the sea and the earth alternately 
'^ changed into one another ; and tliat the beginning 
** of the world is undetermined, which is also 
** said by Aristotle and Cicero/* And some 
amongst us are of opinion, *' That it has been from all 
*' eternity, is temporary, and renewed again by se» 
'^ veral vicissitudes ;'* calling Solomon and Isaiah to 
witness, in order to evade the objections, that God 
was once a creator without a creature, that he had 
then nothing to dp; that, to counteract such va- 
cancy, . he put his hand to this work ; and that, con- 
sequently, - he is subject to change. In the most 
famous of the Greek schools, the world is taken for 
a god, made by another god, who is greater, and 
composed of a body, and of a soul, fixed in its 
-centre, and dilating itself, by musical numbers, to 
its circumference ; divine, most happy, most great, 
most wise, and eternal. In him are other gods, the 
sea, the earth, the stars, who entertain one another 
wit)i harmonious and perpetual agitation and divine 
dance ; sometimes meeting, sometimes retiring from 
one another ; concealing and discovering themselves, 
jchanging their order, one while before, and another 
behind. Heraclitust was positive, " That the world 

* Herodot lib. ii. page 163, 164. 
f Diog. LacTt. ia Uie Life of Heraclitus, > lib. ix. sect. 8. 
VOL.11. R 

242 Ai^ Ajpoiocr Foie 

<^ leas composed of fire, and, by the order of tlie desk 
^ tinies, was one day to be inflamed and con- 
^^ sumed in fire, and to be again renewed." And 
Apuleiust saysof men: Sigillatim mortales^ cunctim 
perpetui : " That they are mortal in partictdar, and 
^ immortal in general." Alexander sent his mother 
the narrative of an E^jrptian priest, drawn from 
tlieir monuments, testiifying the antiquity of that na- 
tion to be infinite, and containing the tme birth 
and progress of other countries. Cicero and Dio- 
dorus say, ^^ That in their time, the Chaldees kept a 
«* register of four hundred thousand and odd years." 
Aristotle, Pliny,t and others, " That Zoroaster 
** flourished six thousand ^ears before Plato's time.** 
Plato t says, " That the city of Sais has records iA 
♦* writing of eight thousand years ; and that the city 
•* of Athens was built a thousand years before the 
*' said city of Sais." Epicurus, " Tnat at the same 
•* time things are here in the posture we see, they 
*^ are alike, and in the same manner in several othet 
•* worlds :" which he would have delivered with 
greater assiu*ance, had he seen the similitude and 
concordance of the new-discovered world of the 
West^Indies, with ours, present and past, in such 
strange instances. In reality, considering what is 
arrived at our knowledge of the course of this ter- 
restrial polity, I have often wondered to see, in so 
vast a distance of places and times, such a concur* 
rence of so great a number of popular and wild opi«- 
nions, and of savage manners and articles of faith, 
which, by no means, seem to proceed from our na^ 
tural reason. The human mind is a great worker 
of miracles. But this relation has, moreover, I 
know not what of extraordinary in it, even in names^ 
and a thousand other things : for they found nations 
there (that, for aught we know, never heard of us), 
^il^J*"^" "^here circumcilsion was in use j where there were 

* ApuleiuSy in his tract de Deo Socratis* 
t PHmKat. Hist. lib. xxx* cap. 1. % In his Tinsffius, p. 524< 



States and civil governments maintained by women 
only, without men } where our fasts aild lent were 
represented, to which was added the abstinence 
from women ; where our crosses were, several ways, 
in repute ; where they were made use of to honour 
their sepultures; where they were erected, and, 
namely, that of St. Andrew, to protect themselves st. An* 
from nocturnal visions, and to lay upon the cradles ^j^lSilJ** 
of infants against enchantments: m some places 
there was found one of wood, of a very great height, 
which was adored for the God of rain ; and this was a cnw a. 
a great way up in the main land, where tiiere wereJljJ^'^ 
seen a very clear image of our shriving priests, «""• 
with the use of mitres, the celibiacy of priests, the 
art of divination by the entrails of sacrificed animals, 
abstinence from all sorts of flesh and fish in then* 
diet, the form for priests officiating in a particular, 
and not the vulgar, language : and this fancy, that 
the first god was expelled by a second, his younger 
brother; that thev were created with all, sorts of ac-Thecrca. 
commodations, which have since been taken from^'^J^®^^ 
them for their sins, their territory changed, and^^ 
their natural condition made worse : that they were, 
of old, drowned by an inundation of water from 
heaven ; that but few families escaped, who retired 
into caves of high mountains, the mouths of which 
they stopped, so that the waters could not get in, 
having shut up, together with themselves, several 
sorts of animals ; that, when they perceived the rain 
to cease, they sent out dogs^ whicn returning clean 
and wet, they judged that the water was not yet 
much abated; but afterwards sending out others, 
and seeing them return dirty, they issued out to re- 
people the world, which they found only full of ser- 
pents. In one place it appeared, they were per-Tbedayor 
suaded of a day of judgment ; insomuch that tneyJ*^*"*' 
were greatly displeased at the Spaniards for discom- 
posing tfie bones of the dead, in rifling the graves 
tor riches; saying, that those bones, so scattered, 
could not easily be i-ejoined. They traffic by ex« 


244 . AN APOLOGV for 

change, and no other way, in fairs and in markets i 
Dwarfs at dwa^s artd deformed people are retained for the 
^fVAdcw'- ornament of the tables of their princes : they use 
falconry, according to the nature of their birds; ty- 
rannical subsidies, fine gardens, dances, tumbling 
tricks, and juggling instruments of music, armories, 
iMvcnsortstennis-playing, dice, and lotteries, wherein tliey are 
ofsBinet. sometimes so eager, as to stake themselves, and 
their liberty : physic, no otherwise than by cliarm»; 
the way of writing in hieroglyphics; the belief 
of only one first man, the father of all nations ; the 
if^'*ftld adoration of one God, who formerly lived a man in 
mttdTiQui. perfect virginity, fasting, and penance, preaching 
the law of nature, and the ceremonies of religion, 
and who vanished from the world without a natural 
death ; the opinion of giants ; the custom of mak- 
ing themselves drunk with their beverages, and 
drinking as long as they could stand ; religious or- 
naments painted with bones and dead men's sculls ; 
surplices ; holy water sprinkled ; wives and servants, 
who strive to be burned and interred with the dead 
husband or master ; a law by which the eldest suc- 
ceeds to all the estate, no other provision being 
made for the younger, but obedience ; the custom, 
that, upon promotion to a certain office of great au- 
thority, the person promoted is to take upon him a 
new name, and to leave that which he had before ; 
another, to strew lime upon the knee of the new- 
born chikl, with these words, " from dust thou 
** camest, and to dust thou must return ;** as also the 
art of argury : these poor shadows of our religion, 
which are observable in some of these examples, are 
testimonies of its dignity and divinity. It is not 
only, in some sort, implanted in all the infidel na- 
tions on this side of the world, but in the before- 
named barbarians also, as by a common and super- 
natural inspiration ; for we also find there the beli^' 
A npw fortjof purgatory, but of a new form ; that, which we 
ofpufg*to-gjyg ^Q ^]j^ fire, they give to the cold, and imagine 
.that the souls are purged and punished by the rigour 


of excessive cold. This example puts me in mind of 
another pleasant diversity: for, as there were, m 
4hat place, some people who chose to strip and un- 
muffle the glans of tneir penis, and clipped off the 
prepuce, after the Mahometan and Jewish manner ; 
there were others, who made so great conscience dt 
laying it bare, that they carefully pursed it up with 
little strihgs, to keep the end from the air. And I 
remember this other diversity, that whereas we, in 
honour of kings and festivals, put on the best clothes 
we bave, in some regions, to express their disparity 
and submission to their king, his subjects present 
themselves before him in their vilest habits, and, en- 
tering his palace, throw some old tattered garment 
over their better apparel, to the end that all the 
lustre and ornament may solely remain in him. 

But, to proceed: if -nature inclose, within the 
bounds of her ordinary progress, the beliefs, judg- 
ments, and opinions of men, as ' well as all other 
things ; if they have their revolution, their season^ 
their birth and death, like cabbage plants; if the 
heavens agitate and rule them at their pleasure, what 
magisterial and permanent authority do we attribute 
to them ? If we experimentally see, that the form 
t^our existence depends upon the air, the climate^ 
and the soil where we are born ; and not only the 
colour, the stature, the comjdexion, and the couur 
tenanee, but the faculties of the soul itself: Et 
plaga cceli non solum ad robur corporumi sed etiam 
animorum faeit :* " The climate contributes not 
*• only to the strength of bodies, but to that of the 
** mind also,'* says VegetSusc a^ that the goddess^ 
who founded the city of Athens, chose, for its situa^ 
tion, a temperate air, fit to make the men prudent, as 
the Egyptian priests told Solon : Atlienis tenue cos^ 
imn : e.v quo etiam acutiorcs putantur AttiQi : cra8-> 
€um Thebis ; itaque pingues Thebanij et vaUntes 't 

* Veget. lib. i. cap. 2. \ Cic* de Fato, c^. 4. • 


^^ The air of Athens is thin, from whence also the 
^^ Athenians are reputed to be more acute : and iM^ 
*^ Thebes it is thick, wherefore the Thebans are 
^' looked upon as fat and strong." In such sort 
that, as the fruits and animals differ, the men are 
also more or less warlike, just, temperate, and do- 
cile ; here given to wine, elsewhere to theft or un- 
cleanness ; here inclined to superstition, elsewhere 
to infidelity ; in one place to liberty, in another to 
servitude ; capable of a science or an art, dull or 
witty, obedient or mutinous, good or bad, according 
as the place, where they are seated, inclines theii^ ; 
.and assume a new constitution, if removed, like 
trees ; which was the reason why Cyrus would not 
grant the Persians leave to quit their rough and 
craggy country, to remove to another that was plear 
fiant and plain ; saying, ^' That &t and tender soils 
f ^ made men efibminate ; and fertile soils produced 
^^ barren minds.'' If we see one art and one belief 
flourish One while, and another while another, by 
some celestial influence ; if we see such an age pro- 
duce such natures, and incline mankind to such or 
fluch a bias ; the spirits of men one while gay, and 
another gloomy, like our fields; what becomes of 
all those fine prerogatives we so sooth ourselves 
withal ? Seeing that a wise man, a hundred men, or 
many nations, may be mistaken, nay, that human 
nature itself, as we believe, is many ages wide in 
one thing or another, what assurances have we 
that she sometimes is not mistaken, or not in this 
very age ? 
The iocon-, Methinks, that, amongst other testimonies of our 
^^dl i^nbecility, Uiis ought not to be fi>rgotten, diat man 
sireta^ cannot, by his own desire, find out what is necessary 
^^^^''for him ; that, neither in fruition, nor in imagination 
' and wish, can we agree about what we want to con- 
tent us. If we leave it to our own thought, to cut 
out, and make up as it please, it cannot so much fts 
desire what is proper for it, and satisfy itself; 

flAIMONB I>£ SCfi^KDE* $47 

Qtdd emm raiicne iimenms 

^ui cujbimus ? Quid tarn dexiro pede concipist ut te 
Conatus non poentteat, votique peracti ?* ^ 

. How void of reason are our hopes and fears ! 
What in the progress of our life appears 
So well design'd^ so dexfrously begun, 
But, when we have our wish, we wish undone ? ^^ 

For this reason it was, that Socrates begged Qothing Socmtfi'i 
of the gods, but what they knew to be best for him : ^™'^ 
and the prayers of the Lacedaemonians, both private 
and pubuc, were only to obtain such things as were 
good, referring the choice of them to the discretion 
of the supreme power; 

Conjugium pethnuSf p&riufiiqtie uanans^ at ilRs 
Noium qui pueri, quaUsqueJiUura sU wsor.f 

We pray for wives and children, thejr above 
Know only^ when we have them, wtiat they'll prove^ 

And Christians pray to God, " that his wiH may be 
** done ;" that they may not fkll into the inconve- 
nience the poet feigns of king Midas. " He prayed 
** to the gods, that all he touched mighfr be turned 
^^ into gold : his prayer was heard ; his wine was 
f^ gold, his bread was golds ^nd the feathers of his 
** bed, his shirt, and clothes were turned into gold;" 
so that he found himself ruined with the fruition of 
his desire, and, being enriched with an intolerable 
wealtt), was fain to unpray his prayers : 

Aiioniius fiovUaie maUf divesquei miserqucj 
Effugere optai opes, et qtuB modb voverat, adit.X 

Astonished at the strangeness of the ill. 

To be so rich, yet miserable still ; 

He wishes npw he could his wealth evade, 

And hate^the thing for whidi befojre he pray-d. 

To instance in myself j being young, I desired of^t^*J^ 
fortune, above all things, the order of St. Michael, ciud of * 
which wa? then the highest distinction of honour jjj^^^^^ 

* J^v. sat. X. ver. 4, &c. -j: Idea), ibid, yen 352, 353. 

f *Oyidf M^tam. lib, ^i. fab. 3» ver. 43, &c. ' 


among the French noblesse, and very rare. She 
pleasantly gratified my longing : instead of raising 
me, and lifting me up from niy own place to attain to 
it, she was much kinder to me, for she brought it so, 
low, and made it so cheap, that it stooped down to 
my shoulders, and lower. Cleobis and Biton,* Tro- 
phonius and Agamedes,t having requested, the two 
nrst of their goddess, the two last of their god, ^* a 
^^ recompence worthy of their piety," had death 
for a reward: so different from ours are the heavenly 
opinions concerning what is fit for us. God might 
grant us riches, honours, life, and even health, some- 
times, to our own hurt ; for every thing that is plea- 
sing to us, is not always wholesome for us : if he sends 
us death, or an increase of sickness, instead of a cure, 
Viroa tudj et baculus tuusj ipsa me consolata sunt :t 
" Thy rod and thy staff have comforted me :" he 
does it bv the rule of his pravidiepce, whiph knowt 
better what is proper for us, than we can do ; and 
we ought to take it in good part, as coming &om a 
fnost wise and most gracious hand ; 

Si coiisiliuminsy 

Permittes ipsis expendere rmtninibus qitid 
CoTweniat nobisj rehttsque sit utile vostris : 
Charior est illis homo, quam siii,* 

If thou^t be rurd, leave to the gods, in pra/rs| 
To yreigh what's fit for us in our ai&irs ; 
Still best to them man's happiness is known. 
And in their sight hr dearer than his own. 

To pray for honours and commissions is to pray 
that he may throw you into a battle, set you upon 
a cast at dice, or something of the like nature, 
whereof the issue is to you unknown, and the conse- 
. quence doubtful. There is. no dispute so sharp and 
violent amongst the philosophers, as about the qiies^ 
tion of the " sovereign good of man j'^ which, by 

• Herodot. lib. ii. and xiiL . 

-¥ Plutarch's consolation to Apollonius on the death of (lis soOj^ 

i Psal. xitiiL 4. § Juv. ksX. x.* ver. 312, '&c. 


the calculation of Varro, gave birth to two hundred 
and fourscore sects. Qui autem de summo bono dis^ 
sen it J de totd phitosopkia: ratione disputat ;• ** For 
•* whoever enters into controversy concerning the 
** supreme good, disputes upon the whole system of 
" philosophy." 

Tres mlhi convivce prope dissentire videntur, . 

Poscentes tmrio mmtum diversa palafo. 

Quid dem f Quid non dem P Renuis tti quodjulet alter ; 

Q//od petisj td sane est invisumy acidumtpw duohus. t 

Mcthinks I've three invited to a feast, 

A difTring palate too has evVy guest, 

Uequiring each to gratify his taste ; 

To please them all what dbhe& shsil I choose 7 

What not ? What he prefers, you two refuse ; . 

What you yourself approve, offends their sight. 

Will mar theu* meal, and pall their appetite. 

Such must naiturally be the answer to their contests 
and debates* Some say that our well-being consists 
in virtue, others in pleasure, others in submitting to 
nature 4 one jin knowledge, another in being exempt 
from pain, another in not suffering ourselves to be 
carricMl away by appearances ; and this fancy seems 
to have some relation to that of the ancient Pytha- 

Nil admirari prope res est una, Numiciy 
Solaque qwcB possit facere^ et servare beatum»X 
Not to admire, helieve me, is the best. 
If not the only means to make us blest. 

liVhich is the drift of the Pyrrhonian sect. Aristotle 
attributes the admiring of nothing to magnanimity : 
and Arcesilaus said, " that constancy, and an m- 
*' flexible state of judgment, were a real good i but 
" consent and cpniprmitjr, vices and evils.** § . It is 
true, tliat, in thiis estabhshing it by a certain axiom, 
^e quitted 

* Cic. de Fin. lib. v. cap; 5. f Hor. lib. ii. epist. 2, ver. 61, &c. 

± Idem, lib. i. epist. 6, ver. 1, 2. 

j SexU Empir. Pyrr. Hypot. lib. u cap. SS, p. 48. || Idem, ibid. 


The at«. The Pyirhoiiians, when they say that the ataraxy, 

Pyrrb^ ^* which is thc immobility of judffment, is the sovereign 
■i*^- good, mean it not affirmatively ; but that the same 
motion of the soul, which makes them avoid precis 
pices, and take shelter from the air, presents them 
with this fancy, and makes ' them refuse another, 
oianicter How much do I wish, that, whilst I live, either 
Liiliw" s^^™^ other, or Justus Lipsius, the most learned man 
ip» w. ^^ ^^^ present age, of a most polite aqd judicious un- 
derstanding, and truly resembling my Tumebus, had 
the will, health, and leisure sufficient, to collect into 
Plan of « a register, according to their divisions and classes, 
thediffer! ^ many as are to be foimd of the opinions of the an- 
ent sects ofcicut philosophcrs, about th^ subject of our being 
pheftT" ^^^ manners, their controversies, tne succession and 
reputation of the sects, with the application of the 
lives of the authors, and their disciples, to their owq 
precepts, in memorable accidents, and upon exem- 
plary occasions. What a beautiful «nd useful woric 
that would be ! 
The cimfu. For if it be from ourselves that we are to extract 
wh?cii"meH *^^ ™^^^ ^^ ^^^ manners, into what a confiision do 
run, about we throw oursqlvcs ? For that which our reason ad« 
*J,y^J^,"|^ vises us to, as the most probable, is generally for 
inanBcrs. Qvevy onc to obcy the laws of his country. Its it was 
the advice of Socrates, inspired, as he pretends him- 
self, by a divine counsel* And what does this mean, 
but that our duty has no Qther rule but what is acciden? 
tal ? Truth ought to have a Uke and universal visage : 
if man could know equity and justice, that it had a 
body, and a true being, he woulq not fetter it to the 
conditions of this country, or ths^t: it would not be 
from the whimsies of the Persians or Indians, that 
virtue would receive its form, 
taws sub- There is nothing moro subject to perpetual fiuc? 
'}f^uBr*^''''tuation than the laws. In my own time, I have 
change*, kuowu thosc of the English, our neighbours, three 
or four times changed, not only in matters of civil 
government, which is the only thing wherein con? 
stancy is dispensed with, but in the most important 

RAIMOND D£ 8£B0ND£. j251 

subject that can be; namely, religion : at which I am 
vexed and ashamed, because it is a nation, with 
whom those of my province have formerly had so 
great familiarity, that there yet remain, in my family, 
some foot-steps of our ancient kindred. And here, 
with UB at home, I have known a thing that was car 
pital to become lawful ; and we that hold others, are 
likewise, according to the chance of war, in a possi- 
bility of being found, one day, guilty of high-trea* 
son, botli against God and man, should the justice 
of our arms fall into the power of injustice, and, af- 
ter a few years' possession, take a quite contrarv be- 
ing. How could that ancient god* more clearly ac- 
cuse the ignorance of human knowledge concerning 
the divine Being, and give men to understand, that 
their^ religion was but a thing of their own contri' 
vance, useful as a bond to their society, than by 
declaring, as he did to those who came to his tripod 
for instruction, " That every one's true worship was 
** that which he found in use in the place where he 
** chanced to be ?" O God, what inhnite obligation 
have we to the bounty of our Sovereign Creator, for 
having purged our belief from those wandering and 
arbitrary devotions, and for having placed it upon 
the eternal foundation of his holy word ! But what 
will then philosophv say to us in this neces- 
sity, that we must follow the laws of our coun« 
trv i that is to say, the floating sea of the opinions 
t>fa republic, or a prince, that will paint out jus- 
tice for me in as ^any colours, and reform it as 
many ways, as there are changes of passions in them- 
selves. 1 cannot suffer my judgment to be so flex- 
ible : where is the goodness of a thing, which I saw 
yesterday in repute, and to-morrow in none, and 
which, <Hi the crossing of a river, shall become a 
Clime ? What truth is it that these mountains inclose, 
)[)ut is a lie to ^e world beyond them ? 

♦ Apollo. 


Natorai But tlicy afc picasant, when, to give some certaintj 
lurr^'co'^I*'' to the laws, they say, " that there are some firm, per- 
ftantaod <« petual, and unchangeable," which they cafl na- 
jmomtabic. f^^^j^ cc ^^^f ^^e imprinted in human kind by the 
" condition of their awn essence;** and those «ome 
reckon three, some four, some more, some less ; a 
sign that it is a mark as doubtful as tlie rest. Now, 
they are so unfortunate (for what can I caH it else 
but misfortune, when, of such an infinite number of 
laws, there should not be found one, at least, that 
fortune, and the temerity of chance, has suffered to 
be universally received by the consent of all nations ?) 
they are, I say, so miserable, that, of these three or four 
select laws, there is not one that is not contradicted 
and disowned, not only by one nation, but by many. 
Now the only likely sign by which they can prove 
any Jaws to be natural, is the imiversality of appro- 
bation ; for we would, without doutyt, all agree to fol- 
low that which nature had truly ordained us ; and not 
only every nation, but every particular man, would 
resent the force and violence that any one should do 
him, who would put him upon any thing contrary 
to this Jaw. Let them produce mc but one of this 
Tiic foond. Protagoras and Aristo gave no other essence to 
*„|"V^J*** the justice of laws, than " Tlie authority and opinion 
itt^K. ^^ of the legislator, and that, these laid aside, the 
** things honest and good would lose their qualities, 
" and remam empty names of things indifferent.** 
Thrasymachus, in Plato, is of opinion, that " There 
** is no other right but the convenience of the supe- 
^* ripr.** There is not any thing wlierein the world 
is so various, as in laws and customs ; such a thing 
is abominable here, which is elsewhere in esteem, a9 
in Lacedflcmonra, tlie dexterity of stealing : marriages 
within the degrees of consanguinity are capitally 
interdicted among us ; they are elsewhere in honour^ 

Gentps esseftriinturf 



tn qmhus ei nato genitrix^ el vaia parentl 
Jimgiiw^ ei piatas gemipato cresc'U aniore.* 

There are some nations in tlie world, 'tis said, 
Where fathers daughters, sons their mothers wed ; 
And their aiFections thereby higher rise^ 
More firm and constant by these double tics. 

The murder of in&nts, murder of fathers, commu- 
nication of wives, robberies, license in all sorts of vo- 
luptuousness : in short, tliere is nothing that is not 
permitted by the custom of some nation or otlien 

It is probable, from our observations on other tjiow of na. 
creatures, that there are natural laws, but in us they *"f!'°'* *' 

ii*/*i 1 .* mong^ men* 

are lost : this fine human reason, every-wherc so in- 
sinuating itself to govern and command, as to con- 
found the face of things, according to its own vanity 
and inconstancy. Nihil itaque amnliiLs nostrum est ; 
quod nostrum dicoj artis est : '* Tnerefore nothing is 
** any more truly ours; what w^e call ours is the eftect 

ofart/' Subjects appear in agreat variety of different 
lights ; and from thence the diversity of opinions prin- 
cipally proceeds: one nation considers a subject in one 
aspect, and stops there ; another takes it in another view. 

Nodiing can be imagined so horrible, as for a The bodies 
man to eat his fiither : yet the people of old, whose •f«'»'»»^de. 
custom it was so to do, looked upon it as a testimony J^Si'^t/rcn 
of piet^ and affection, meaning thereby to give their ^y ■•»"»* 
progenitors the most worthy and honourable sepul- wllj! ^*'*°* 
ture ;t lodging in themselves, and, as it were, in 
their own marrow, the bodies and relics of their 
lathers ; and, in some sort, vivifying and regenerat- 
ing them, by transmutation, into their living flesh, 
by means of digestion and nourishment. It is easy 
to consider, what a cruelty and abomination it must 
have i^ppcared to men possessed and tinctured with 
this superstition, to throw their parents' remains to 
corrupt in the earth, and become the nourishment of 
beasts and worms. 

♦ Ovid. Met lib. X. fab. 9, vcr. 34- 

f Sext. Em^in Fyrr. Hypot. lib, iii. cap* 24, p. 157. 


Theft ai. Lycurgus considered, in theft, the vivacity, dili- 
L^^tt^M, gence, boldness, and dexterity of purloining any 
and nrhy/ thing from our neighbours, and the utility that re- 
dounded to the public, that every one might look 
more narrowly to the preservation of what was his 
own; and believed, that, from this double institu- 
tion of assaulting and defending, an advantage ac- 
crued to military discipline (which was the princi- 
pal science and virtue to which he aimed to inure 
the Lacedaemonians), of greater consideration than 
the disorder and injustice of taking another man's 
Aperfam- Dionysius, the tyrant, offered Plato a robe of the 
*JjJ*^"=' Persian fashion, long, damasked, and perfumed. 
puto,a^d Plato refused it, saying, ** That, being born a man, 
brArisfip-" he would not willingly dress himself in woman's 
pui. «« clothes ;'** but Aristippus accepted it, with this 
answer, " That no garment could impair a man's 
" fortitude/' His 'friends reproaching him with 
meanness of spirit, for laying it no more to heart, 
that Dionysius had spit in his fece : ** Fishermen," 
, said he, ** suffer themselves to be dashed with the 
** waves of the sea, from head to foot, to cateh a 
*" gudgeon.^t Diogenes was washing cabbages, and, 
seeing him pass by, " If thou couldst live on cab- 
bage," said he, " thou wouldst not &wn upon a ty- 
** rant."t To whom Aristippus repliec}, ** And if 
** thou knewest how to live amongst men, thou 
^ wouldst not be washing cabbages." TTius rea- 
son finds a colour for diverse effects : it is a pot with 
two ears, that a man may take by the right or 

— ^ — BeUttrriy S terra hospitOj portas ; 
Bella armaniur equi ; beUumhiscarniefUafninaniur: 
Sed tamen iidem olm curru succedere sneti ^ 

* Diog. Laert. in the Life of Aristippus, 13}. iL sect. 78« 
• f Idem. ibid. secL 67. 
X Idem. ibid. sect. ^^ and Hor. lib« i. ep. I7t ter. 19) Ac* 

RAtlUrdKD DC S£BO^D£. 255 

Vmirupedes, et frcenajugp concardiaferre ; 
Spes est pacts.* 

A war this foreign land seems to declare, 
Horses are arm'd, for herds do threaten war; 
And jcet these brutes having with patience bore 
The yoke, and yielded to the reins before, 
There's hopes of peace, 

Solon being importuned, by his frends, not tosoioo^ 
shed unprofitable tears for the death of his son : " I* JS^eiu 
*^ is for that very reason that I shed them/' said he,ofkiifoiu 
^^ because they are unavailing and unprofitable."t 
Socrates's wife exasperated her grief by this circum* 
stance, '^ Oh, how unjustly do these wicked judges The moonu 
" put him to death !" *^ Why/* replied he, " hadst J.^^^'.^- 
" thou rather they should justly execute me?"t We wife, 
have our ears bored ; the Oreeks looked upon that 
as a mark of slavery :§ we retire in private to en- 
joy our wives; the Indians do it in public: II the 
Sc3rthians sacrificed strangers in their temples ;f elset 
where temples are a refuge : 

Indejwror vulsi^ quod numina victnorumy 
Odii quisque locus^ cum solos credat habendos 
Esse Deosy quos ipse colii,** 

This 'tis that spite and vtilgar spleen creates, 
* That all their neighbours' gods each city hates ; 
Each calls the other's god a senseless stock ; 
Its own divine, though carv*d from the same block.ft 

I have heard of a judge, that where he read a sharp 

* .£iieid, lib. iii* Ter* 5S9, Ac 

f Diog. Laert. in the Life of Solon, lib. i. secL 63. 

i tdeniy in the Life of Socrates, lib. ii. sect* 35. 

§ Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hypot lib. iii. cap. 24*, p. 159. 

II Idem, lib. i.cap. 14, p. SO. ^ Idem, ibid. 

♦* Jttv. sat. XV. ver. 37. 

tt Juvenal speaks here of Egypt, where, he says, the people were., 
enraged against one another, to the last degree, because some wor* 
shipped deities, whom otliers abhorred, &c. And do we not see, ; 
that the Christians, though they worship but one and the same only ' . 
God, the Creator of the heavens, and the earth, are no less en- \ 
ra^ed one against another, because some of them believe in certain J 
thmgs, which others of them cannot. ^ 


conflict between Bartolus and Baldus, and some 
point greatly controverted, he wrote in the margin 
of his book, " a question for a friend :'* that is to 
say, that tnith was there so perplexed and disputed, 
that, in such a cause, he might favour which of the 
parties he thought fit: it was only for want of wit 
and capacity, that he did not write, " a question for 
a friend," throughout* The advocates and judges 
of our times find bias enough,' in all causes, to ac- 
comimodate them to what they themselv^ think fit : 
^ so infinite a science, depending^ upon the autho- 
rity of so many opinions, and so arbitrary a subject^ 
it cannot be but that an extreme confusioii of judg^ 
ments must arise. There is also hardly any suit so 
clear, wherein opinions do not differ: wlwtt one 
coui't has determined, another determines quit-e con- 
trary, and itself contrary to that at anotlier time : of 
whicli we see very frequent exaiiiples, by this li- 
cense, which is a great blemish to our justice, of 
not acquiescing in decisions, but running firom judge 
to judge, to decide one and the same cause. As to 
the liberty of philosophical opinions concerning vice 
and virtue, it is a subject not necessary to be expa- 
tiated upon, and wherein are found many^ opinions, 
that are better concealed, than published to weak 
minds : Arcesilaus* said, " That, in fornication, it 
" was no matter where, or with whom, it was com- 
" mitted."t Et obscanas voluptate^^ si naiura re* 
quirit^ tion genere^ aut locOj aut ordine^ sed formd^ 
atatCj Jigiira inetiendas Epicurus putat.^ — Ne amores 
quidcm sanctos h sapiente dlrenos esse arbitrantur^^^ 
Quaramtis ad quam usaue ataton juvenes amandi 
sifit : " And obscene pleasures, if* nature requires, 
" Epicurus thinks, are not to be measured, either 
^^ by race, place, or rank, but by age, shape, and 
•* beauty. — Neither arc sacred amours thought to be 

* Plutarch's dialogue of the rules and maj^ims of healthy cop. & 
f Cic. Ta<?c. Qua:«t. lib. t. cap, 33«. 


•* foreign to wise men ; — ^we are to inquire till what 
« age young men are to be loved."* These two 
last stoical quotations, and the reproach that Di- 
caearchust threw in the teeth of Plato himself, upon 
this account, show how much the soundest philoso* 
phy indulges licences that are excessive, and very 
remote from common usage. Laws derive their au- Uwi^au. 
thority from possession and usage ; it is dangerous **»«"»<^<> ^y 
to trace them backward to their beginning; they*^"*^"** 
grow great, like our rivers, by running ; but follow 
them upward to their source, it is but a little spring, 
scarce discernible, that thus swells and fortifies it- 
self by growing old. Do but consult the ancient 
^considerations, that gave the first motion to this fe- 
mous torrent, so full of dignity, honour, and rever- 
ence, you will find them so slight and delicate, that 
it is no wonder if these people, who weigh and re- 
duce every thing to reason, and who admit nothing 
by authority, have their judgments very remote from 
those of the public. It is no wonder if people, who 
take their pattern from the first image of nature, 
should, in most of their opinions, swerve from the 
common path : as for example, few amongst them 
approved of the strict conditions of our marriages, 
and most of them were for having wives in common: 
they refused our ceremonies. Chrysippus said, 
** That a certain philosopher would have made a 
** dozen antic skips, and turned up his bare breech, 
** for a dozen of olives." That philosopher would 
hardly have advised Callisthenes to have refused 
Hippoclides the fair Agarista, his daughter,^ for 
having seen him stand on his head upon a table. 

* Cic. de Fin. Bon. et Mai. lib. iii. cap. 2. Senec epist. 125. 

f In all the editions of Montaigne, as well as in Mr. Cotton^s trans- 
' lation, it is printed Diogarchus, instead of Dicsearchus, which, un- 
doubtedly, is the right name, as appears from the passage of Cicero, 
Tusc Quaest. lib. iv, cap. 33 and^, where he says, that the philoso- 
jpbers, and particularly Plato, were justly blamed, by Dicaearchus, 
for approving of amours with boys. 

t Ilerodot. lib. vj. p. 42S, 429, 430, 



Metrodes let a f^t, a little indiscreetly, in 4ispa« 
tation, in the presence of his scholars, and kept him«- 
self hid in his own house foi* shame, till Crates came 
to visit him,* who, adding to liis consolations and 
reasons his own example, fell to f^t with him, bet- 
ting who should let most ; by which means he cured 
him of that scruple, and also drew him to his own 
Stoical sect, from that more polite one of the Peri- 
patetics, of which he had been till then« That 
which we call decency, to be a&aid to do that 'in 
public, which it is decent enough to do in private^ 
the Stoics call folly ; and to be so modest as to con- 
ceal and disown what nature, custom, and our de- 
sires publish and proclaim of our actions, they re^ 
putecl a vice. The other thought it was undervalue 
mg the mysteries of Venus, to draw them out of 
her private oratory, to expose them to the view of 
the pec^le ; and that to bring her sports out from 
behmd the curtain, was to spoil them : modesty is « 
thing of weight : secrecy, reservation^ and circum- 
scription are qualities to be esteemed ; and pleasure 
acted very ingeniously, when, under the visor of 
virtue, she sued not to be prostituted in the open 
streets, trodden under foot, and exposed to the 
public view, being destitute of the dignity and con* 
yenience of her private cabinets. Hence some say, 
that to suppress public stews is the way to render 
fornication more general, by the difficulty of gratify- 
ing lascivious desires : 

Mcpchus €S Aufidice qtd inr, Cervwe, fuisti ; 

Rivalisfuerat qui tmiSj ille vir est : 
Cur aliena placet til'i, qtiCB tua non placet uxor P 

Ntmqida seairiis non potes arrigereP f 

This experience is diversified in a thousand fexam- 
ples : 

Nulltis in urle toUty qui tangcre vellet 
Uxorem gralisy Ccecilianey tuam^ 

* See the Life of Metrocles, in Dfog, Laert. lib. vi.-scct. 94* 
f Mart. lib. iii, epig. 70. 


Dum Kcuit : sed nunc pasitis aisiodilrys^ mgens 
Turbafuiutamm est, Jngeniosus homo es.* 

A philosopher, being taken in the very act, and 
asked what he was doing, coldly replied, " I am * j 
** planting man ;*' no more blushing to be so caught^ \ . 
than if they had found him planting garlic. 

It is, I suppose, out of a tender and respectful 
opinion, that a great and religious author t thinks, 
" This act is so necessarily confined to privacy, that 
** he cannot persuade himself there could be any ab- 
** solute performance in those licentious embraces 
" of the Cynics, but that they only made it their The impu^ 
" business to represent lascivious gestures, to main- c^nTc^"** 
^ tain the proiessed impudence of their schools; 
** and that, to eject what shame had with-held and 
*• confined, it was afterwards necessary for them to 
^ withdraw into the shade." But he had not seen 
far enough into their debauches ; for Diogenes, de- 
filing himself in public, wished, in the hearing of all 
that saw him, " That he could satiate himself by 
" that exercise."t To those who asked him, " Why 
** he did not find out a more commodious place to 
** eat in, than the open street;" he made answer, 
" Because I am hungry in the open street." § The 
women philosophers, who mixed with their sect, 
mixed also with their persons, in all places, without 
reserve: and Hipparchiall was not received into 
Crates's society, but upon condition that she should, 
in all things, confi>rm to the usages and customs of 
his sect. These philosophers set a great price upon 
virtue, and renounce all other discipline but morsu 
lity; yet, in all actions, they held their sage to 
be above the authority of the laws ; admitting no 
other restraint upon voluptuousness, but moderation 
only, and a regard to the liberty of others. 

* Mart lib. i. epig. 74<. 

j* St. Augustine, de Civit. Dei, lib. xiv. cap. £0. 

I Diogenes the Cynic,.in his Life, by JDiog. Laert. lib. vi. ^ect 69l 
§ Idem, ibid. sect. 58. 

II Diog. Laert. in her Life, lib. vi. sect. 96, 97. 



Phiioso. HeracHtUs and Protagoras (observing that win^ 

hefd! ThJu seemed bitter to the sick, and pleasant to the sound; 

otieindthethe rudder crooked in the water, and straight when 

j^bad out ; and such-like contrary appearances as are 

contrary found iu subjccts) argued from tnence, " That all 

Mce^*^" *' subjects had, in themselves, the causes of these 

*' appearances ; and that there was some bitterness 

** in the wine, which had some sympathy with the 

** sick man's taste ; and the rudder some bending 

" quality, sympathisinff with him that looks upon 

" it in the water,:" and so of all the rest, which is 

to say, " That all is in all things, and consequently 

*' nothing in any one; for> where all is, there la 

" nothing." 

This opinion puts me in mind of the experience 
we have, that there is no sense, or aspect of any 
thing, whether bitter or sweet, straight or crooked, 
that human wit does not find out in the writings he 
tb« purest Undertakes to tumble over. Into the cleanest, purest, 
^*y ?J and most perfect discourse that can possibly be, 
S^we*^of how many lies and falsehoods arc there suggested I 
terlreu^"" ^^at hcrcsy has not there found ground and testi- 
uons. mony sufficient to make it be embraced and de- 
fended ? It is for this, that the author? of such errors 
will never depart from proof of the testimony of the 
IIlThew'**' interpretation of words. A person of dignity, who 
stone ap- would provc to me, by authority, the search of the 
proved, philosophers' stone, wherein he was over head and 
ears engaged, quoted to me, lately, five or six pas- 
sages in the Bible, upon which he said he first 
founded his attempt, for the discharge of his con- 
science (for he is, by profession, a divine) ; and, in 
truth, the invention was not only pleasant, but, 
likewise, very well accommodated to the defence of 
this fine science, 
writer* ^^. this way the reputation of divining fables is, 
easily find acquircd : there is no fortune teller, if he have this 
|,"g*^^]JJ^''^j, authority, but, if a man will take the pains to search 
tbera ho- him, and narrowly pry into all the folds and glosses 
"o^'T- of his words, he may make him, like the Sibyls, say 


what he will. There are so many ways of interpre- 
tation, that it will be hard but that, either obliquely, 
or in a direct line, an ingenious wit will find out, m 
every subject, some air that will sei-ve for his pur- 
pose. On this account, an obscure and ambiguous 
style has been so much used. Let the author but 
make himself master of this, he may attract and em- 
ploy posterity about his predictions ; which not only 
his own parts, but the accidental favour of the mat- 
ter itself, may as much or more assist him to obtain. 
Let him, as to the rest, express himself after a fool- 
ish or a subtle manner, whetlier obscurely or con- 
tradictorily, it is no matter ; a number of wits, shak- 
ing and sifting him, will squeeze out of it a great 
many forms, either corresponding to his meaning, or 
even contrary to it, which will all redound to his 
honour : he will see himself enriched by the means 
of his disciples, like the regents of colleges, by their 
pupils and yearly presents. This it is which has 
given reputation to many things of no real worth ; 
that has brought several writings in vogue, and given 
them all sorts of matter that can be desired ; one 
and the same thing receiving a thousand and a thou- 
sand images, and various considerations, nay> even 
as many as we please. 

Is it possible, that Homer could mean to say alt How Ho. 
that we make him; and that he designed so niany"*^^*^,^^ 
and so various figures, as that the divines, Iaw-"n«<ithc 
givers, philosophers, and all sorts of men who treat i^^^ 
of sciences, how variously and oppositely soever, ™i»- 
sKould quote him, and support their arguments by 
his authority, as the master-general of all offices, 
works, and artisans, and counsellor-general of all 
enterprises ? Whoever has had occasion for oracles 
and predictions, has there found sufficient to serve 
his turn. It is a wander how many,- and how ad- 
mirable occurrences, a learned friend of mine has 
there found out in favour of our religion, who can- 
not easily be put out* of the conceit, that it was 
Homer's design (yet he is as well acquainted with 


this author^ as any man of his time) ; and xdiat he haft 
found in favour of ours, very many, anciently, have 
found in favour of theirs. Only observe, how Plato 
is tumbled and tossed, every one thinking it aa 
honour to apply him to himself, and to set him on 
what side they please : they draw him in, and in- 
graft him in all tne new opinions the world receives ; 
and, according to the different course of things, set 
him in opposition to himself: every one makes him 
disavow, according to his own sense, the manners 
and customs which were lawful in his age, because 
they are unlawful in ours ; and all this with an ap- 
pearance of probability, in proportion to the force 
and sprightliness of the wit of the interpreter. From 
the same foundation that Heraditus and this sen- 
tence of his had, *' That all things had in them those 
*' forms which we discerned,*** Democritus drew a 
quite contrary conclusion ; namely, " That subjects. 
^^ had nothing at all in them of what we find in 
^' them; and, because honey is sweet to one, and 
** bitter to another,** he argued, ♦* that it was nei- 
^ ther sweet gior bitter.** The Pyrrhonians would 
say,f " Th^t they knew not whether it is sweet or 
** bitter, or neither the one, or the other, or both,** 
for these always aspire to the high point of dubita« 
tion. The Cyrenaics held,t that " Nothing was per* 
** ceptible from without, and that only was percepti- 
** ble, which internally touched us, as grief and 
** pleasure ; acknowledging neither sound^^ nor co- 
" lour, but certain affections only that we receive 
" from them, and that man's judgment had no other 
** seat.** Protagoras believed,§ " That what seemed 
" so to every one, was time to every one.** The 
Epicureans lodged, " All judgment in the senses, 
" and in the knowledge of things, and in pleasure.'* 
Mato would have " The judgment of truth, and 

^ In Sext. Empir. P}Trh, Hypot.lib, i. cap. 23. 

+ Idem, ad vers. Mathem. p. \6iU 

4 Cic. Acad. Quapst. lib. iv. cap. 7. § Ideta, ibid* cap. 46« 


*^ truth itaelf, derived from opinions and the senses, 
*• to appertain to the mind and thought.*' 

This discourse has put me upon the consideration o«r know- 
of the senses, in which lies the greatest foundation *'^'***^*^''" 
and proof ox our ignorance ; whatsoever is known, cermiDaus 
is, doubtless, known by the faculty of the knower ;!°J^ 
for, seeing the judgment proceeds from the opera- 
tion of him that judges, it is an argument, that this' 
operation performs it by his own means and will, not 
by the constraint of another ; as it would happen, if 
we knew things by the power, and according to the ' 
law of their essence ; now all knowledge makes its 
way in us by the senses, they are our masters : 

— Via quamimUaJidei 
Trosimafert humanum in pectus^ templaqtw mentis.* 

The nearest path that certainty can find. 
By which to occupy the human mind. 

Science begins by them, and is resolved into them : 
sifter all, we should know no more than a stone, did 
we not know that there is sound, smell, light, taste, 
measure, weight, soilness, hardness, sharpness, co- 
lour, smooothness, breadth, and depth: these are 
the platforms and principles of the whole structure of 
our knowledge : and, according to some, science is 
nothing else but sense : he that could make me con* 
tradict the senses, would have me by the throat, he 
could not make me go farther back : the senses are 
the beginning and the end of human knowledge: 

Invenies primis ah sensihus esse creatam 
Notitiam veri, neqtie sensm posse refelti : 
Quid majorefide porri quam sensus haleri 
Debet ?f 

Of truth, whate'er discoveries are made. 
Are by the senses to us first convey'd ; 
Nor will one sense be baffled ; for on what 
Can we rely more safely than on that ? 

• Lucret. lib. v. ter. 103. 

t Idem, lib. iv. Ver. 480, 4^81,-484, 485. 


Let US attribute to them the least we can, we 
must, however, of necessity, grant them this, that 
it is by their means and mediation that all our in- 
struction makes its way. Cicero says,* ** That 
*' Chrysippus, having attempted to extenuate the 
*' force and virtue of the senses, represented to him* 
^* self arguments, and so vehement oppositions tp 
^' the contrary, that he could not be satisfied in him- 
** self therein :" whereupon Cameades, who main-^ 
tained the contrary side, boasted, *' That he 
^' WQuld make use of the same words and arguments 
^^ that Chrysippus had done, to controvert and con- 
** fute Ijim ;" and therefore thus cried out against 
him, " C) wretch ! thy own force has destroyed 
" thee.**t There can be nothing absurd to a 
greater degree, than to maintain, that fire does not 
warm, that light does not shine, and that there is no 
weight nor solidity in iron, which are ideas con- 
veyed to us by the senses ; neither is there belief 
nor knowledge in map, that can be compared tQ 
that for certainty. 
Doubt whe. The first consideration I have upon the subject of 
Jive «rrthe the sensQS is, that I make a doubt, whether, or no, 
man be furnished with all the natural senses. I see 
several animals, who live, some without sight, others 
without hearing : who knows, whether ta us also, 
one, two, three, or many otlier senses may not be 
wanting ? For, if any one be wanting, our reason 
cannot discover the want thereof: it is the privilege 
of the senses to be the utmost limit of our percep- 
tion : there is nothing beyond them that can assist 
us in discovering them ; nor can any one sense dis- 
cover the extent of another : 

jin poterunt oculos aures reprekendere^ an aures 
Tavtnsj an hunc parro tacium sapor arguet orisy 
An confutgilunt nares, oculive rtvincent ?X 

* Cic, Acad. Qua^st. lib. iv, cap. 27. 

t Plutarch, iii the Contradictions of the Stoic Philosophers^ 
ch.ip. 9. t 

J Luctret. lib. iv. 


Can ears the eyes, the touch the ears correct }. 
Or is that touch by tasting to be checked : 
Or th' other senses, shall the nose, or eyes, 
Confute in their peculiar faculties ? 

They are the limits which ciTcumscribe our ability. 

— — Seorsum cuique poiestos 
Divisa est^ sua vis cuique est,* 

Each has its power distinctly, and alone^ 
And every sense's power is its own. 

It is impossible to make a man, born blind, conceive 
that he does not see ; impossible to make him de- 
sire sight, or to lament the want of it ; for which 
reason, we ought not to derive any assurance from 
the soul's being contented and satisfied with those 
we have J considering, that it cannot be sensible 
hereiri of its infirmity and imperfection, if there be 
any such thing ; it is impossible to say any thing to . 
this blind man, either by reason, argument, or simi- 
litude, that can possess his imagination with any no- 
tion of light, colour, and sight : there nothing re- 
mains behind, that can produce the sense to evi- 
dence. Those that are born blind, who say they 
wish they could see, it is not that they understand 
what they desire : they have learned from us, that 
they want something ; that there is something to be 
desired, that we have, which they name indeed, to- 
gether with its effects and consequences, but yet 
they know not what it is, nor have any idea of it. I 
have seen a gentleman, of a good family, who was 
"born blind, or, at least, blind from such an age, 
that he knows not what sight is ; who is so little sen- 
sible of his defect, that he makes use, as we do, of 
words proper to seeing, and applies them after a 
manner whoUy particular, and his o\\ti. They 
brought him a child, to which he was god-father, 
which having taken into his arms : " Good God," 
said he, " what a fine child is this, what a pretty 

* Lucret. lib. iv. 



** face it has !" He will say, like one of us, •* Th» 
** room has a very fine prospect ; it i9 clear weather; 
" the sun shines bright.'* And, moreover, a» 
hunting, tennis, and shooting at butts are our ex« 
ercises, and he has heard so ; he has taken a fancy 
to them, makes them his exercise, believes he ha» 
as good a share of the sport as we have, and will 
express himself angry or pleased, as we do, and yet 
knows nothing of it but by the ear. One cries out 
to him, " here's a hare," when he is upon some 
even plain, where he may gallop ; and, afterwards, 
when they tell him, " the hare is killed,'' he will be 
as overjoyed, and proud of it, as he hears others 
are. He will take a tennis-ball in his lefl-hand, and 
strike it away with the racket ; he will »hoot with a 
musket at random, and is contented with what his 

eople tell him, that he is over or wide of the mark. 

iVho knows whether mankind commits not the like 
absurdity for want of some sense, and that, through 
this defect, the greatest part of the £ice of things is 
concealed from us ? What do we know, but that the 
difficulties, which we find in several works of nature^ 
are owing to this ; and that diverse effects of ani^ 
mals, which exceed our capacity, are produced by 
the power of some sense, that we are defective in ? 
And whether some of them have not, by this means, 
a life more fiill and entire than ours ? We seize an 
apple, as it were, with aU our senses : we find red- 
ness,* smoothness, smell, and sweetness in it; but 
it may have other qualities besides these, as drying 
up or binding, which no sense of ours can reach to. 
Is it not likely, that there ^re sensitive faculties in 
nature, that are fit to judge of and to discern those, 
which we call the occult properties in several things, 
as for the loadstone to attract iron ; and that uic 
w^.nt of such faculties is the cause that we are igno* 
raat of the true essence of such tilings I it is, per-^ 

• All this is taken from Sextug Empiricus'i Pyrrhon. HypotjiRii. 
lib. i. cap. 14, p. 20. 


hspBi aoiAe particular sense, that gives cocks to im* 
derstand what hour it is of morning, or of midnight, 
and makes them to crow accordingly ; that teaches 
chickens, before they have any experience of what 
they are, to fear a roarrow-hawk, and not a goose, 
or a peacock, though birds of a much larger size s 
that warns them of the hostile quality a cat has 
against them, and makes them not to fear a dog ; tm 
arm themselves against the mewing (a kind or flat* 
tering voice) of the one, and not against the barking 
(a shrill and angry note) of the other: that teaches 
wasps, ants, and rats to fall upon the best pear, and 
the best cheese, before they have tasted them ; and 
inspires the stag, elephant, and serpent, with the 
knowledge of a certain herb proper for their cure. 
There is no sense that has not a great dominion, 
and that does not produce an infinite number of dis- 
coveries. If we were defective in the intelligence of 
sounds, of music, and of the voice, it would cause 
an inconceivable confusion in all the rest of our 
science : for, besides what is annexed to the proper 
effect of every sense, how many arguments, conse- 
quences, and conclusions do we draw to other things, 
by comparing one sense with another ? Let an un- 
derstanding man imagine human nature originally 
produced without the sense of seeing, and consider 
what ignorance and trouble such a defect would 
briilg upon him, what a darkness and blindness in 
the soul ; he will then see, by that, of how great 
importance to the knowledge of truth the privation 
of such another sense, or of two or three, should we 
be so deprived, would be : we have formed a truth 
ify the consultation and concurrence of our five 
senses ; but, perhaps, we should have the consent 
and contribution of eight or ten, to make a certain 
discovery of it, and of its essence. 

The sects that controvert the knowledge of man,Haiiiu 
do it principally by the uncertainty and weakness of^^^^ 
our senses: for since all knowledge is, by their«d by tiie 
means and mediation, conveyed unto us, if theyJJJ^"*" 


•or senses. 

farntyof f^^ 1^ thcif rcport, if they corrupt or alter what 
they bring us from without, if the light which, by 
them, creeps into the soul, be obscure in the pas- 
sage, we have nothing else to hold by. From thi» 
extreme difficulty all these fancies proceed, that 
every subject has, in itself, all we there find : that it 
has nothing in it of what we think to find there ; 
and the Epicureans' notion, that the sun is no bigger 
than it is judged, by our sight, to be : 

euicquid* id estj nihilafertitrmajorejimura^ 
nam nostris oculis quam cemimus esse vtdeiJir.f 

But, be it what it wilt in our esteem. 
It fa no bigger than to us doth seem. 

That the appearances, which represent a body great 
to him that is near, aad Iqss to him that is &r £:om 
it, are both true; 

Nee iamen hie oculis fuUi c&ncedtmus hilum: 
Proinde animi vitium hoc oculis adfingere nolLi 

Yet that the eye*s deceived, we deny ; 

Charge not the mind's fauh tlierefore on the eye. 

And, positively, that there is no deceit in the senses ; 
that we are to lie at their mercy, and seek elsewhere 
reasons to account for the difference and contradic- 
tions we therein find, even to the inventing of lies,^ 
and other flams (for it is come to that), rather ffian 
accuse the senses. Timagoras swore, " That, by 
*^ pressing or turning his eye,§ he could never per- 
** ceive the light of the candle to double, and that 
** the seeming so proceeded from the mistake of opi- 
^ nion, and not from the eye.*' The most absurd 
of all absurdities, in the judgment of the Epicu- 
reans, is, in •* Denying the force and effect ot the 
*' senses.** 

* Lucret lib. v. vcr. 677. 

t What Lucretius says here of the moon, Montaicne applies to> 
the sun, of which» according to Epicurus's principbs, the saiae> 
thing may be affirmed. 

J Lucret. lib. iv. ver. 380, — 386. 

f Cic Acad. Qusest. lib. iv. cap. 25.. 


Pr^inde quod in quxHjue est his visum tempore, vertan esij 

Et si MM poiuit ratio dissotuere causamy 

Cur ea quce fuerint juxtim quadrata, procul sint 

Visa rotunda : tamen prcestat ratumis egentem 

Reddere tnendos? causas utriusquejigurte, 

C^dm numilms numi^sta sms emilerre quoqiutm, 

Et violarejidem prvmam, et convellere iota 

FundameniOy quums nixaiur vita sahisque : 

JVbn mod^ enim ratio ruat omnis^ vita quoque ipsa 

Concidat extemploy jiisi credere sensihus ausis, 

Prcedpitesque locos vitare, et ccotera quce sint 

In genere hoc Jugienda,* ' 

That what we see exists, 1 will maintain^ 

And if our feeble reason can't explain 

Why things seem square when they are very near. 

And at a greater distance round appear ; 

Tis better yet, for him that's at a pause, 

T* assign to either figure a false cause, 

Than siiock his fsuth, and the foundations rend. 

On which our safety and our life depend : 

For reason not alone, but life &nd all. 

Together will with bidden ruin &11 ; 

Unless we trust our senses, nor despise, 

To shun the various dangers that arise. 

This so desperate and unphilosophlcal advice ex* 
presses only this, ^^ That human knowledge cannot 
** support Itself but by reason, that is unreasonable, 
** fooush, and mad ; but that it is yet better, that 
** man, to give himself a credit, make use of this, 
** and any other remedy, how fantastic soever, than 
** to confess his necessary ignorance; a truth so 
•* disadvantageous to him/* ^e cannot avoid own- 
ing, that the senses are the sovereign masters of his 
knowledge ; but they are uncertain, and deceitful. 
It is there that he is to fight it out to the last, and if 
just forces fail him, as they do, he must supply that 
defect with obstinacy, temerity, and impudence. 
In case tlmt what the Epicureans say be true, viz. 
** That we have no knowledge, if what the senses 
" make appear be false;" and if that also be true, 
which the Stoics say, " That what appears from the 

• Lucret lib. ir. ver. 502— 513. . 


^^ senses is so fMse that they can furnish us with no 

" manner of knowledge ;" we shall conclude, to the 

great disadvantage of these two dogmatical sects, 

** That there is no knowledge at all.*' 

The error As to the evTOT and Uncertainty of the operation 

Sltyofuie^^ senses, one may furnish himself with as many 

•p^j^^^wn examples as he pleases; so common are the frauds 

and tricks they put upon us. In the echo of a 

valley, the sound of the trumpet $eems to meet us, 

whicn comes from a place behind: 

Extantesque frocul medio de gtirgite monies 
ClassibiLS tnter quos liber patet exituSj iidem 

Apparent et long? divoki licet, ingens 
Insula conjimctis tamen ex his una videtur. 

Etfugere ad puppvm colles, campique videntur 
Quos agimus prceter navim,* 

And rocks in.seas, that proudly raise their head. 
Though &r disjoia'd, though royal navies spread 
Their sails between; yet, if from distance shown. 
They seem an island all combinM in one : 
Thus ships, thougii driven by a prosp'rous gale^ 
Seem fix*d to sailors, those seem unaer sail 
That ride at anchor safe ; and all admire. 
As they row by, to see the rocks retire. 

Vhi in medio nobis equus acer obhcesit 

Flumine^ equi corpus transversumferre videtur 
Vis, et ttt adversum fiumen contrudere raptim.f 

Thus, when in rapid streams my horse hath stood. 
And I lookM downward on the rolling flood; 
Though he stood still, I thought he did divide 
The headlong streams, and strive against the tide. 
And all things seemM to move on ev'ry side4 

Like a musket bullet, under the fore-finger, th« 
middle-finger being lapped over it, which feels so 
like two, that a man will have much ado to persuade 
^mself there is but one ; the end oJ* the two fingers 
feelipg, each of them, one at the same time. 

» Lucretlib. iv. ver. 398, &c. f Idem, ibid. ver. 422. 

% Mr. Creech. 


That the senses are, very often, masters df our That the 
reason, and constrain it to receive impressions which ^^.„ 
it judges and knows to be false, is nrequently seen. i^poM*"^ 
I set aside the sense of feeling, which has its func- J^^**""^**^ 
tions nearer, more lively and substantial; that so 
oftep, by the efiect of the pains it brings to the 
body, overthrows all those nne stoical resolutions, 
and compels him to pry out of his belly, who has 
resolutely established this dextrine in his soul, that 
the cholic, as well as all other pains and diseases, 
are indifferent things, not having the jpower to abate 
any thing of the sovereign felicil^, wherein the wise 
man is seated by his virtue. There is no heart so 
e£feminafe, that the rattle and sound of our drums 
and tabors will not inflame with courage; nor so 
eullen, that the harmony of oui* music will not rouse 
and clieer ; nor so stubborn, that will not feel itself 
struck with some reverence, in viewing the vast 
gloominess of our churches, the variety of orna* 
ments, and the order of our ceremonies, and to hear 
the solemn music of our organs, and the composed 
and devout harmony of our voices : even those that 
come with contempt, feel a certain shivering in their 
hearts, and something of diead, that makes them 
doubt of their own opinion. For my part, I do not 
think myself hardy enough to hear an ode of Ho* 
race, or Catullus, sung by a pretty young mouth 
without emotion: and !^eno had reason to say. The voice 
** That the voice was the flower of beauty."* A cer- JJ^^S^^ 
tain person would once make me beheve, that a 
ipan, whom all we Frenchmen know, had imposed 
upon me, in repeating some verses which he had 
made ; that they were not the same upon the pa- 
per that they were in the tune, and that my eyes 
would form a contrary judgment to my ears: so 
great a power has pronunciation to give fashion and 
value to works that are left to the modulation of the 
voice* Therefore Philoxenus was not so much to 
blame for breaking a person's furniture, wljom he 

* Diog. Laert in the Life of Zeno^ lib. vii. segt. 23. 


heard give an ill accent to some composition of Iiis,* 
saying, " I break what is your6, because you spoil what 
" is mine.** To what end did those men, who, wdth 
a positive resolution, destroyed themselves, turn 
away their faces rather than see the blow they gave 
themselves? And why is it, that those, who, for 
their health, desire and command incisions and 
caustics, cannot endure the sight of the prepara* 
tions, instruments, and operations of the surgeon : 
considering that the sight is not, any way, to parti- 
cipate in the pain f are not these proper examples, 
to confirm the authority which the senses have over 
reason ? It is to much purpose to know these tresses 
were borrowed from a page, or a lacquey ; that this 
Vermillion came from Spain, and this ceruse from the 
ocean : our sight will nevertheless, compel us to con« 
fess the subject of it more agreeable, and more 
lovely, against all reason : for, in this, there is no* 
thing of its own: 

Auferimur cullu : genimisy auroque tegtintur 
Ciimina: pars minima est ipsapuelui sui : 

ScBpe ubi sit quod ames inter tarn multa requiras, 
Decipit hac oculoSj ^gide, dives amor.f 

Bv dress we're won : gold, gems, and rich brocades 
Make up the pageant that your heart invades ^ 
In all that glitt'ring figure which you see. 
The far least part of her own self is she : 
In vain for her you love, amidst such cost. 
You search, the mistress in such dress is lost. 

Narchtiit 'VHThat a strange power do the poets attribute to the 
witiT^iili senses, who feign Narcissus so desperately in love 

•wnper- i^^h Jjjg q^^^^ shadoW ! 

Cunctaque miratur^ quihus est mirahilis ipse, 
Se ctipit imprudensy et (jui probata ipse probatur. 
Dumque petity petitur : pariterque accendit et ardet.^ 

Admireth all, for whicli to be adrair'd i 
And, inconsiderately, himself desir'd 

* Diog. Laert. in the Life of Arcesilaus, lib. iv. sect. S6\ 

•)- Ovid, de Kem. Amor. lib. i, ver. 343. 

% Ovid. Met. lib. iii. fob. 5 et 6, ver. 85, drc 


The praises which he gives, his beau^ claim'd; 
Who seeks, is sought, th' inflamer is inflam'd. 

And Pygmalion's judgment so disturbed by the im- And Ryj. 

{)ression of the sight of his ivory statue, that he l^ul*iiit 
oves and adores it, as if it were a living woman : »«*tue, 

Osctda daif reddi^puiat, sequituraue tenetque, 
Ei credit tactis digitas instdere mefntniSf 
Et mettdt presses veniat ne livor in arius.* 

He kisses, and believes he's kiss'd again. 
Seizes, and 'tween his arms his love doth strain. 
And thinks the polish'd ivory, thus held. 
Does to hb fingers am'rous pressure yield, 
And has a tender fear, lest black and blue ^ 
Should in the parts with ardour, press'd ensue. 

Let a philosopher be put into a cage of small How we 
thin set bars or iron, and hang him on the top 6f^\^^^' 
the high tower of Nostre Dame at Paris ; he will see, ■*«•»*» **»• 
by manifest reason, that he cannot possibly fall, and ^' ^^' 
yet he will find (unless he have been used to the 
tilers' trade) that the excessive height will unavoid- 
ably frighten and astonish him : for we hardly think 
ourselves safe in the galleries of our steeples, if 
they are railed with an open balluster, although of 
stone ; and some there are that cannot endure so 
much as to think of it. Let there be a beam thrown 
over between the two towers, of breadth sufficient to 
walk upon, there is no philosophical wisdom so firm, 
that can ^ve us the courage to walk over it, as we 
would do if it was upon the ground. I have often 
tried this upon our mountains; and though I am 
one who am not extremely fearful, yet I was not 
able to look down that vast depth without horror, 
and a trembling of my hams and legs, though I 
stood above my length from the edge of the preci- 
pice, and could not have fallen down unless I chos^ 
it Here I also observed, that what height soever 
the precipice were, provided there was sopae tree, or 
/K)me jutting out of a rock, a little to support and 

*■ Ovid. Met. lib. x. fob. 8, ver. 14, Ac 


divide the sight, it somewhat eases our feara^ and 
gives some courage, as if these things might break 
our fall : but that we are not able to look down steq> 
smoodi precipices without being giddy : Ut despici 
vertigine simul oculorum anhnique nonpossit: " Which 
** is a manifest imposition of tne sight." And there- 
fore it was, that the famous philosopher put out his 
own eyes,* to free his soul from being corrupted by 
them, and that hq might philosophise at greater h- 
berty. But, by the same rule, he should have 
dammed up his ears, wliich, Theophrastus says, are 
the most dangerous organs about us, for receiving 
violent impressions to alter and disturb us \ and, 
finally, should have deprived himself of alt the other 
senses, that is to say, of his life and being.; for they 
have all the power to command our soul and reason : 
Fit etiam sape specie quadaniy sctpe "cocum gravitate 
et catitibuSy ut pellantur animi vehementiks ; sapc 
etiam curd et timore :t " For it often happens, that 
" minds are more vehemently struck by some as- 
** pect, by the quality and soUnd of the voice, or 
" by singmg ; and oft times also by grief and fear.'* 
Physicians hold, " That there are certain constitur 
^^ tions which are agitated by some sounds and iur 
" struments, even to fury.** I have seen some, 
who could not bear to hear a bone gnawed under 
the table ; and there is scarce a man, who is not 
idisturbed at the sharp and harsh noise that tlie file 
makes in grating upon iron. Also to hear chewing 
near them, or to hear any one speak, who has an 
impediment in the throat or nose, will move some 
people even to anger and hatred. Of what use wa3 
that piping prompter of Gracchus, who softened, 
raised, or modelled his master's voice as he pleased, 
whilst he declaimed at Rome, if the motion and 
quality of the sound had not the power to move and 

♦ Democritus in Cic. de Finibus, lib. v, cap. 29. But Cicero 
only spoke of it as of a thing uncertain ; and Plutarch «ay8 posi- 
tively that it is a falsehood. See his Discourse of Curiosity^ cap. xi. 

t Cic. de Divin. lib. i. cap. 37. 

RA<>fPNB PB S^BOKDE. r275 

^t«r tb@ jodfifiants of the au^tpry ? In txuth^ there 
is wonderful reason to keep such a clutter about the 
^mn^ss of this fine piece, that suffers itself tq be 
turned an4 twined % the l^reath and accidents of 
so light a windt 
y;^ Thp same phe^t that the senses put upon q\xt unr TheBenio 
d^fstafldiqffy they receive in their ^urn. The soul *J»«*cd *ntf 
ftlsor liometiines, h43 its revenge ; t hey he and co n- by the |m«- 
tend. which should most deceive OTfjS2Uiej(u-Mrha|;J^^ 
we see^ ahdrH§aF'wI»eini|^^ with pa*- 

•ion, W9 lather a^ Bor heigr ^ it; Is; 

Et solem gemiTwm, et duplices se osiendere Thebqs.* 
Thebes seems two cities, and the sun two suns* 

The object that we lowe^ appeals to us more be^% 
•tiful th^n it rei^lly is : 

MulHmodis igitur pravas^ tvrpesque videmtiSy 
Esse in delictis, summogue in honore vigere.f * 

Hence 'tis that ugly things, in fanc/d dress, 
Seem gay, lode &ir to loner's eyes, and please. 

As does that we hate, more ugly. To a discouj^ 
tented and afflicted man, the light of the day seems 
dark and glopmv : our senses are not only depraved, 
but oflen totally stupified by the passions of the 
soul : how jRBXiy things do We see, that we do not 
take notice of, if the mind be taken up with other 
thoughts ? 

I I I In reJms quoque apertis noscere possis, 
Si mn (fdvertas ammum, toroinde esse^ quasi omni 
Tempore semotiejuerintf longeque reinotca.X 

Nay, even in plainest things, unless the mind 
Take heed, unless she sets herself to find, 
The thing no more is seen, no more belov'd, 
Than if the most obscure, and most remov'd. 

-It appears that the soul retires within, and amuses 
the powers of the senses j and so both the inside, 

* iEneid. lib. iv. ver. 470. f Lucret.lib. iv. ver. 1148, &c. 

^ Idem, ibid^ ver. 809, &f . 



and the outside of man, is full of infirmity and 
The life of They who have compared life to a dream, were 
"J^"^'^^ perhaps more in the right than they were aware of; 
4ream. whcn wc dream, the soul lives, operates, and exer- 
cises all its faculties, neither more nor leas than when 
awake, but more gently and obscurely; yet not 
with so much difference, as there is between liight 
and noon-day, between night and shade ; there she 
sleeps, here she slumbers ; but whether more or less, 
it is still dark, and Cimmerian darkness : we wake 
sleeping, and sleep waking. I do not see so clearly 
in my dumber ; but, as to my being awake, I never 
found it clear enough, and free from clouds. More- 
over, sleep, when it is profound, sometimes rocks 
even dreams themselves asleep ; but our awaking is 
never so sprightly, as thoroughlv to purge and dissi- 
pate those whimsies, which are tne dreams of persons 
awake, and worse than dreams. Our souls receiv- 
ing those fancies and opinions that arise in dreams, 
and authorising the actions of our dreams, with the 
like approbation that they do those of the day; 
whereiore do we doubt, whether our thought and 
action is not another sort of dreaming, and our 
waking a kind of sleep ? 

If tne senses be our chief judges, it is not ours 

alone that we are to consult ; for, in lliis' faculty the 

animals have as great or greater right than we : it is 

certain that some of them have the sense of hearing 

more quick than man ; others that of seeing ; others 

that of feeling; others that of touch and taste. De- 

mocritus said,* " That the gods and brutes had 

" the sensitive faculties much more perfect than 

« man." 

The Terj But, between the effects of their sensea and purs, 

«[^^^j|^*-the difference is extreme: our spittle cleanses and 

tweea the dries up our wounds ; it kills the serpent : 

* Plutajch de Placitia PhUofiophorum, lib. !▼. cap. la 


oar leDiet^ 
mud Chose 
of aninftlf. 

Taniaque inlus rebus distanttOy differitasque esly cffecti of 

Ut quod aUis alms est, aliisJucU acre veneman : 
Scape elerdm serpens, hominis coniacia saliva, 
Disperit, ac sese mandendo conficit ipsa.* 

And in those things the diflTrence is so great^ 
That what's one's poison, is another's meat ; 
For serpents often have been seen, 'tis said. 
When touch'd with human spittle, to go mad. 
And bite themselves to death. 

What quality do we attribute to our spittle, either 
in respect to ourselves, or to the serpent ? By which 
of the two senses shall we prove its true essence that 
we seek for ? Pliny says,t " That there are certain 
^^ sea-hares in the Indies, that are poison to us, and 
^^ we to them ; insomuch that, witn the least touch, 
** we kill theih." Which is truly the poison, the 
man, or the fish ? Which shall we believe, ivhether 
the fish poisons the man, or the man the fish ? one 
quality of the air infects a man, that does the 
ox no harm ; some other infects the ox, but hurts 
not the man: which of the two has in truth and 
nature the pestilent quality? To them who have, 
the jaundice, all things seem yellow and paler than 
to us: 

Lurida prcetereajiuni quaecunque iueniur 

jirquati.X — — — 
Besides, whatever jaundic'd persons view. 
Looks pale as well as those, and yellow too. 

They who are troubled with the disease the phy^ 
sicians call hyposphagma,§ which is a sufiusion of 
blood under the skin, see all things red and bloody : 
what do we know but that these humours, which 
thusalter the operations of our sight,predominate over 
beasts, and are usual with them ? For we find some 
whose eyes are yellow, like our people who have the 

* Lucret. lib. W. ver. 640, &c. 

f Nat. Hist. lib. xxii. cap. 1. 

% Lucret lib. iv. ver. 353, &c. 

i Sext. Empyr. Pyrrh. Hjrpot. lib. i. cap. U, p« 2» 

S78 Af7 APOLOGY Ftlft 

jatindifee, fttid Othfers of a bloody red. It is likely 
that the colour of objiects seems other to them than 
to us ; of which of the two shall we raiake a right 
judgment? For it ife not said that the essence of 
things ha!s relation to man only: hardness, white- 
ness, depth, and sharpness, have reference to the 
service and knowledge of animals, as well as to us ; 
and nature has equally designed them for their use. 
When .we press down the eye, we perceive th? 
body, that We look upon, to be longel: and more ex- 
tended; many beasts have their eyes so preissed 
dowti: this length, therefore, is perhaps the trufe 
form of that body, and not that which oUf eyes give 
it iii their usual st^te: if we press the eye uiider- 
' iiedlh, thihgs appear double to us : 

Etna hcemarum fiorentia lummajflamhdsj 
jSt dupliees hominum fades, et dirpcra binaA 

One totn^ se&m& dooble, and the men ap|)eal: 
£ach on two bodies double heads to bear. 

1^ our ears be clogged, or the passage of hear- 
ing stopped up, we receive sound quite otherwise 
than we usually do ; the animals likewise, who have 
either the ears hairy, or but a veiy little hole iristead 
of an ear, do not, coft^qufently, hear As we do, 
but another kind of sound. We see at festivals and 
theatres, that by opposing a painted glass of a cer- 
tain colour, to the light of the flambeaux, all things, 
in tlie room ai|>|)eat to us gieen, yellow, or violet : 

T^ volgofaciunt id biteffy ntssaque vela, 
flif&rrtigway of/m magnis intetfia ifiMiiisy^ 
Pel' fHatm iH)l§aU[ frabehfjve iternefHifa JluOmt: 
Namque ibi eotfsessum caveat mbier, et omnem 
Scenai speclem^ paimm mainmque deorumqu^ 
Ifificiuntf cogif,ntqnesuoJlidtare colore,\ 

Thus when pale ptirtains^ or the deeper red^^^ 
O'er all the spacious theatre aic spread^ 

* Lucret. lib. iv. ver. 73,— 452,— 454-, &'C. 
»! Idem, ibifl. v6r. 73, dc. 


tVhich tnigfaty masts, and stuirdjr pilhirs bear, 
And the loose curtains wanton in the air ; 
Whole streams of colours from the summit Row, 
. The rays divide them in their passage through, 
And stain the scenes, and men, and gods below. 

It ialikdiy, that the eyes ofanimals, which^ 
of divers colours, produce to them the appearance 
of bodies the same with their eyes. 

We should, therefore, to taske a jujd^ent of the How an. 
operations of the senses, be first agreed with th^J^^J ** 
animals, and secondly amoi^t ourselves, which we»cntofthe 
by no means ve^ but enter, at every turn j into oFS^**"* 
dispute concerning wbal: one hears, sees, or tastes^ •< 
something otherwise than another does; and we 
dispute as much as upon any other thing, about the 
diversity of the images, which the senses represent 
to us. A child, by the ordinary rule of nature, 
hears, sees, and tastes otherwise than a man of 
thirty years old, and he than one of threescore. 
The senses are, in the one, more obscure and dull, 
and more open and acute in the others ; and wt 
are impressed by things variously, according to the 
condition in which we happen to be, and as they 
appear to us. Now our perception being so uticer- 
tain, and so controverted, it is no more a wonder, 
if we are told, that we may declare that snow ap- 
pears white to us ; but that to establish that it is, in 
Ms own essence, really so, is more than we are able 
to maintain : and this foundation being shaken, all 
the knowledge in the world must, of necessity, com^ 
to nothing. What ! do our senses themselves em- 
barrass one another ?• A picture seems embossed to 
the sight, which in the handling seems flat : musk, 
which delights the smell and is oflensive to the taste, 
shall we call it agreeable, or no ? There are herbs 
)stnd unguents, proper for one part of the body, that 
are hurtful to another: honey is pleasant to the 
taste, but offensive to the sight. They who, to assist 

♦ Sext. pmpir. Pyrr. Hypot. lib. L cap. 14, p. 19- j 


their lust, were wont, in ancient times, to make use 
of magnifying glasses, to represent the members 
they were to employ bigger, by that ocular tumi- 
dity, to please themselves the Inore ; to which of the 
two senses did they give the prize, whether to the 
sight that represented the members large and great 
as they would desire ? or to their feeling, which re- 
presented them little and contemptible? Are they 
our senses that supply the subject with these difierent 
conditions, and yet tne subjects themselves have, ne- 
vertheless, but one ? As we see in the bread we eat, 
it is nothing but bread ; but, by being eaten, it be- 
comes bones, blood, flesh, hair, and nails : 

Ut cibus in memlra atque arius cum didUur omves 
Desperit, atque aUam naturam mfficit ex se.* 

As meats, diffus'd tlirough all the members, lose 
Their former state, and diff'rent things compose. 

The humidity, sucked up by the root of a tree, 
becomes trunk, leaf, and fruit ;t and the air, though 
but one, is modulated, in a trumpet, to a tliousand 
sorts of sounds. Are they our senses, I say, that 
in like manner form these subjects with so many 
diverse qualities, or have they them really such in 
themselves? And, upon this doubt, what can we 
determine of their true essence ? Moreover, since 
the accidents of diseases, of delirium, or sleep, 
make things appear otherwise to us than they do to 
the healthy, the wise, and tiiose that are awake; is 
it not likely that our right state, and our natural 
humours, have also wherewith to give a being to 
things that have relation to their own condition, and 
to accommodate them to themselves as well as when 
the humours are disordered ; and is not our health as 
capable of giving them an aspect as sickness ? Why 
has Dot the temperate a certain form of objects re- 
jative to it as well as the intemperate ;t and why may 

* Xucret. lib. iii. ver. 705, &c. 

+ Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hypot. lib. i. cap, 14-, p. 12. 

X Idem, ibid. p. 21. 


It not as well stamp them with its own character ? 
He whose taste is vitiated says the wine is flat ; the 
healthy man commends its flavour, and the thirsty its 
briskness. Now our condition always accommodat* 
ing. things to itself, and transforming them accord- 
ingly, we cannot know what things truly are in 
themselves ; because that nothing comes to us but 
what is altered by our senses, where the compass, 
the square, and the rule are awry, all proportions 
drawn from thence, and all building erected by those 
guides, must, of necessity, be also crazy and defec- 
tive. The uncertainty of our senses renders every 
thing uncertain that they produce : 

Denique ut infabrica, si prava est regula prima^ 
Normaaue siJaUax rectis regionibus exit, 
/ Et Ubetla altqua si ex parte claudicat kilum^ 
Omnia mendos^ Jieriy atque obsHpa necessum est, 
PravOf cubaniia, prima, supinOy atque alsgna tecta^ 
' Jam ruere ut qmeaam videcmiur velte ruantque 
Proditajudiciisfcdlacibus omnia primis : 
Hie igitur ratio tiln rerum prava necesse est, 
Falsaque sitfalsis qucecunque d sensibus orta est.^ 

But lastly^ as in building, if the line 

Be not exact and straight, the rule decline. 

Or level false, how vam b the design ! 

Uneven, an ill-shap'd, and totfring wall 

Must rise, this part must sink, that part must tall. 

Because the rules are false that fashioned all : 

Thus reason's rules are false, if all commence, 

And rise from fniling, and from erring sense. 

As to what remains, who can be fit to judge of these 
differences ? As we say in controversies of religion, 
that we must have a judge, neither inclining to the 
one side nor the other, free from all prejudice and 
affection, which cannot be amongst Christians : just 
so it falls out in this ; for if he be old, he cannot 
judge from the sense of old age, being himself a 
party in this case ; if young, there is the same ex- 
ception } if healthy, sick, asleep, or awake> he is 

* Lucret. lib. iv, ver. 516, &c« 


ifttill the same incompetent judge : we must have 
some one exempt from all these qualities, to the end 
that, without prejudice or prepossession, he may 
judge of these, and of things mdiiierent to him ; 
and, by this rule, we most have such a judge as 
never existed. 
It is impos- To judge of the appearances that we receive of 
judge'defi- subjects. We ought to have a deciding instrument > 
nuiTriy of to provc this instrument, we must have demonstnu 
by"tiw'ip- ^^^ y *^ verify the demonstration, an instrument 9 
pearanM and hcTC is our ne phes ultra. Seeing the senses 
on[ft'om* cannot determine our dispute, being foil of uncer- 
u>c scntes. tainty themselves, it must then be reason that must 
do it ; but every reason must have another to sup- 
port it, and so we run back to infinity : our fancy 
does not apply itself to things that are Strang?, but 
is conceived by the mediation of the senses ; and 
the senses do not comprehend the foreign sutgect,. 
but only their own passions, by whicli means fancy 
^nd appearance are no part of the subject, but only 
of the passion and suffering of the sense, which pas« 
sion and subject are dilBerent things; wherdfore, 
whosoever judges by appearances, judges by another 
thing than the subject ; and if we say, that the pas- 
sions of the senses convey to the soul the qusdity of 
strange subjects fay resemblance ; how can the soid 
and understanding be assured of this resemblance, 
having, of itself, no commerce with the fore^ sub- 
jects ? As they who never knew Socrates, cannot, 
when they see his picture, say it is like him. 

Now whoever would, notwithstanding, judge by 
appearances, if it be by all, it is impossible; because 
they oppose one another by their contrarieties and 
ana differences, as we see by experience ; shall some 
select appearances govern the rest ? You must verify 
this select by another select, the second by the third, 
and, consequently, there will never be any end of 
it. Finally, there is no constant existence, neither 
of the objects being, nor our own : both we and our 
• judgments, and all mortal things, are incessantly 


running and rolling, and^ consequently^ nothing cer« 
tain can be estat^shed from the one to the other, 
both the judging and the judged being in a conti- 
nual motion. 

We have no communication with Being ; by rea- Notbim? 
son that all human nature is alwa^^s in the midst, ^*j£Id* 
between being bom and dying, giving but an ob- is miiy 
wcure appearance and shadow, a weak and uncertain JJlntiyMfc. 
GMpinion of itself; and if, perhaps, you fix youTsiatiQe. 
thoughts to comprehend your being, it would be 
but Tike grasping water, for the more you clinch 
your hand, to squeese and hold what is, m its own 
mature, flowing, so much more you lose of what 
you would grasp and hold : thererore, seeing that all 
things are subject to pass from one change to ano- 
ther, reason, diat looks for what really sul^ists, findit 
itself deceived, not being able to comprehend any 
thing that is permanent, because that every thing h 
either entering into being, and is not yet wholly at* 
rived at it, or begins to die before it is bom* Plato 
said,* " That bodies had never any existence, but 
" only birth : conceiving that Homer had made 
^^ the Ocean and Thetis father and mother of the 
'^ gods, to show us, that all things are in a perpetual 
^^ fluctuation, motidti, and variation ; the opinion of 
" all the philosophers," as he says, ** before nis time, 
*' Parmenides only excepted, who would not allow 
" any thing to have motion 5" of the power whereof, 
he makes a great accounts Pythagoras was of opi- 
nion, ^^ Tliat all matter was flowing and unstable :'* 
the Stoics, '^ That there is no time present, and thM 
♦* what we call so, is nothing but the juncture and 
•• meeting of the future and past.** Heraclitus,t 
** That never any man entered twice into the samfc 
♦* river:" Epicharmus, " That he who borrowed 
>^ money an hour ago^ does not owe it now ; and 

• In Thcieteto, p. ISa 

t Seneca, ep. 5^^ and Plutarch, in hU tract, entitled, The ti^ 
l^ification of tlie word, lib. i. cap.. 12. 


" that he who was invited over-night to come the 
*' next day' to dinner, comes that day uninvited, 
^ considering, that they are no more the same men, 
** but are become others ;" and that • •^ there could 
** not a mortal substance be found twice in the same 
** condition ; for, by the suddenness and levity of 
^ the change, it one while disperses, and another 
** while re-assembles ; it comes and then goes, after 
*^ such a manner, that what begins to be horn never 
" arrives to the perfection of being ; forasmuch as 
" that birth is never finished and never stays, as 
** being at an end, but, from the seed, is evermore 
^^ changing and shifting from one to another ; as, 
*^ from the human seed, first in the mother's womb 
^' is made a formless embryo ; after being delivered 
^^ thence, a sucking infant ; afterwards it becomes a 
^' boy, then a youth, then a ftdl-grown man, then 
^^ a man in years, and, at last, a decrepid old man : 
^^ so that age, and subsequent generation, is always 
•* destroying and spoiling that which went before ; 

Mutat enim mundi naiitram totius tetaSy 
Ex aliofjue alius status excipere omnia ieletj 
Nee maiiet ilia sui similis res^ omnia mi^atii, 
Omnia commutat naluroj et vertere cogit.f 

For time the nature of the world translates. 
And from preceding gives all things new states ; 
Nought like itself remains, but all do range. 
And nature forces ev'ry thing to change, 

" And yet we foolishly fear one kind of death, 
" whereas wc have already passed, and do daily pass 
^* so many other." " For not only," as HeracUtus 
said, ** the deatli of fire is the generation of air, 
" and the death of air the generation of water.** 
*• But, moreover, we may more clearly discern. ft 
** in ourselves : the prime of life dies, and passes 
•< away when old age comes on: and youth is tcr- 

^ The following lines, marked ** are a verbal quotation from the 
Ia»t mentioned tract of Plutarch, except the vei*ses of Lucretius^ 
-f- Lucret. lib. v. ver. €26, &c. 




minated in the prime of life ; infancy in youth, 
•* and the first age dies in infancy : yesterday died 
*' in to-day, and to-day will die in to-morrow ; and 
^^ diere is nothing that remains in the same state, or 
'^ that is always uie same thing. For, that it is so, 
^ let this be the proof: if we are always one and 
^' the same, how comes it to pass that we are now 
*' pleased with one thing, and by and by with ano- 
** ther ? How is it that we love or hate, praise or 
•* condenm, contrary things ? How comes it to pass 
** that we. have different affections, and no more re- 
," tain the same sentiment in the same thought ? for 
** it is not likely, that, without mutation, we should 
^^ assume other passions; and that which suffers 
mutation does not remain the same; and if it be 
not the same, it is not therefore existing ; but the 
same that the being is, does, like it, change its 
*' being, becoming evermore another from another 
^' thing ; and, consequently, the natural senses abuse 
^^ and deceive themselves, taking that which seems, 
*' for that which is, for want of well knowing what 
** that which is, is. But what is it then that truly 
^ is ? That which is eternal ; that is to say, that 
^' never had beginning, nor never shall have ending, 
** and to which time never brings any mutation : 
'^ fcr time is a moving thing, and that appears as in Time a 
*' a shadow, with a matter evermore flowing and JJ^J'** ,j,j_ 
^^ running, without ever remaining stable and per- oa° ileraw- 
^' manent ; and to which those words appertain be- "'"*^^' 
^' fore, and afler, has been, or shall be ; which, at 
** the first sight, evidently show, that it is not a 
^ thing that is ; for it were a great folly ^ and an ap- 
^* parent Msity, to say that that is, which is not yet 
^^ in being, or that has already ceased to be ; and 
** as to these words. Present, Instant, and Now, 
^* by which it seems that we principally support 
^^ and found the intelligence of time, reason disco- 
" vering it, does presently destro]^ it ; for it imme- 
" immediately divides and splits it into the future 
*^ and past ; being, of necessity, to consider it di- 
^[ vide4 in two. The same happens to nature ih^lt 


^^ is measured, aa to time that measures it ; for she 
^^ has nothing that is subsisting and permanent, but 
*' all things are either born, bearing, or dying. By 
*' which means it were sinful to say of God, who is 
^^ he who only is, that he was, or that he shall be ; 
^' for those are terms of declension, passage, or vi- 
^^ cissitude, of what cannot continue, or remain in 
** being. Wherefore we are to conclude, that God 
** only is, not according to any measure of time, 
^^ but according to an immutable and an immove- 
^' able eternity, not measured by time, nor subject 
^^ to any declension ; before whom nothing was, 
^^ and ailer whom nothing shall be, either more new 
*^ or more recent ; but a real being, that with one 
^^ sole Now tills the For ever, and that there is no- 
^^ thing that truly is, but he alone ; without being 
*^ able to say, he lias been or shall be, without be« 
•* ginning, and without end.'* 

To this religious conclusion of a pagan I should 
only add this testimony of one of the same condi* 
tion,* for the close of this long and tedious dis- 
course* which would furnish me with endless matter. 
^* What a vile and abject thing," says he, •' is man, 
*' if he do not raise himself above humanity ?" It 
IS a fine sentence, and a profitable desire, but equally 
absurd ; for to make a handful bigger than the hand, 
and the cubit longer than the arm, and to hope to 
iS^triile further than the legs can reach, is both impos- 
sible and monstrous, or that man should rise above 
himself and humanity, for he cannot see but with 
his eyes, nor seize but with his power. He shall be 
exalted, if God will lend him his extraordinary hand; 
he shall exalt himself, by abandoning and renounc- 
ing his own proper means, and by suffering himself 
to be raised and elevated by means purely celestial : 
it belongs to our Christism faith, and not to Seneca's 
stoical virtues, to pretend to this divine and miracu- 
lous metamorpliosis. 

* Sfneea, in his Natural Question, Vh. i. in the preface. 


OP JUDGING OP another's DEATH. 287 


Of judging of the Death of another. 

W HEN. we judge of another's courage in death, 
which, without doubt, is the most remarkable action 
of human life, we are to take notice of one thing, 
which is, that men very hardly believe themselves to 
be arrived to that period. Few men die with an as- 
surance that it is tneir last hour, and there is nothing 
wherein the flattery of hope more deludes us. ft 
never ceases to whisper in our ears, ** Others have No very ns 
•* been much sicker without dying ; my condition '!!'"^"'^, 

, ••"ill « Kurance ac 

** 18 not so desperate as it is thought, and, at the the article 
" worst, God has wrought other miracles." This^"**^^ 
happens, by reason that we set too much value upon 
ourselves. It seems, to us, as if the universality of 
things were, in some measure, to suffer by our anni- 
hilation, and that it commiserated our condition; 
because our depraved sight represents things to it- 
self after the same manner, and that we are of opi^ 
nidn, they stand in as much need of us, as we do 
of them ; like people at sea, to whom mountains, 
iidds, cities, heaven, and earth, are tossed at the 
fiame rate as they are : 

Provehimur poriu, temBque wrhesque recedunL* 
Out of the port, with a brisk gale we speed, 
Advimeiiig, while the shores and towns recede. 

Who ever saw an old man that did not applaud the 
past and condemn the present time, laying the fault 
pf his misery and discontent upon the world, and 
the manners of men ? 

Jamque caput qiuissans grcadls suspirat arator^ 
Et cum iempora, Umporibus praseniia cmfert 
frc^teritiSf laudat foriunas sape parentis, 
Et crepat aniiqumn germs ut pietate repktwn.^ 

♦ ^oeid, lib. iii. ver. V2. t Lucre*, lib. iL ver. 1164. 


Now the old ploughman sighs, and shakes his head. 
And present times comparing with those fled. 
His predecessors' happiness does praise/ 
And the great piety of that old race. 

the impor- We draw all things along with us ; whence it fbl- 

^L^^ lows, that we consider our death as a very great 

neoareaiii thing, and that does' not so easily pass, nor without 

to tbeir*^ the solemn consultation of the stars : Tot circa unum 

dratii. caput tumultuantts Deas ; as if there was a rout 

among so many of the gods about the life of one 

man; and the more we value ourselves* the more we 

think so« ^^ What! shall |so much knowledge b6 

^ lost, with so much damage to the world, without 

** a particular concern of the Destinies? Does so 

^^ rare £Mid exemplary a soul cost no more the kill- 

^ ing than one tnat is vulgar, and of no use to the 

" public ? This life that protects so many others, 

** upon which so many othej: lives depend, that em- 

** ploys so vast a number of men in his service, and 

^^ that fills so many places ; shall it drop off like one 

^ that hangs but by its own single thread ?** None 

of us lays it enough to heart that we are but one. 

Thence proceeded these words of Caesar to his pilot, 

more tumid than the sea that threatened him : 

Italiam si C€bIo auihore recusas. 

Me pete : sola tili causa luec estjusta timoris^ 
Fectorem nan nosse tuum, perrumpe procellas 
Tutela seatre met ,* 

If thou to sail for Italy decline 

Under the gods' protection, trust to mine ; 

llie onlv just cause that thou hast to fear. 

Is that thou dost not know thy passenger ; 

But I being now aboard, though Neptune raves. 

Fear not to cut through the tempestuous waves. 

And these : 

- Credit jam digna pericula Ceesar 

Fatis esse suis : tantusque evertere (dixil) 

Me super labor est^ parva quern puppe sedentem^ 

Tarn magno patiere mari. f 

^ Lucas, lib. v. ver. 579. f Idenoi ibid, ver. QSSf &o» 

another's death. S89 

These dangers, worthy of his destiny, 
Caesar did now believe, and then did cry. 
What, is it for the gods a task so great 
To overthrow me, that, to do the feat^ 
In a poor little bfurk they must be fein 
Here to ^luprise me on the swelUqg main ? 

And that idle fancy of the public, that the sunrheMm'* 
mourned for his death a whole year : tor'tE'* 

Hie eiiam extincto miseratvs Cttsare Romatn^ aSar!*' 

Cum caput obscuri mtidum ferrugine texU** 

The sun, when Cesar fell, was touch'd for Rome 
With tender pity, and bewail'd its doom, 

and a thousand of the like kind, wherewith the world 
suffers itself to be so easily imposed upon, believing 
that our interests alter the heavens, and that they 
are concerned at our minute actions. Non tanta 
cosh societas nobiscum est^ ut nostrofato mortalis sit 
illi quo^ue siderumfulgor :t ** There is no such con- 
** nection between us and heaven, that the bright- 
** ness of the stars should decay by our death." 

Now to judge of the constancy and resolution of wbat we 
a man, that does not yet believe himself to be cer-J^^o? 
tainly in danger, though he really is, is no reason ; J|jt ^"J*'" 
and it is not enough that he dies in this proceeding, Ly w"ho"*" 
unless he purposely put himself upon it tor this end. ^'^|f^ 
It commonly falls out, in most men, that they set atodeathT 
good &ce upon the matter, and speak big, to acquire 
a reputation, which they hope also, whilst living, to 
enjoy. Of all that I have seen die, fortune has dis- 
posed their countenances and not their design ; and 
even of those who, in ancient times, have dispatched 
themselves, it is much to be noticed, whether it were 
a sudden or a lingering death. That cruel Roman 
emperor would say of his prisoners, " That he would 
" make them feel death ;'* and if any one killed 
himself in prison, ^* That fellow/' said he, " has 

• Virg. Georg. lib. i. ver. 460, ic. 
f Plin. Nat. IIi$t. lib. ii. cap. B.* 

voi;.. w. U 


" escaped from me." He was for prolonging deaths 
and making it felt by torments : 

Vidimus et toto quamvis in corpore creso^ 
Nil animtP lelh:de datum mmemqiue nefandiB 
Durum stsvitiiB, pereuiUis parctre morli.* 

And in tormented bodies we have seen^ 

Amongst those wounds, none that have mortal beed } 

Inhuman method of dire cruelty. 

That means to kill, yet will not let men die ! 

In plain truth, it is no such great matter for a 
man iti health, and in a settled frame of mind, to 
resolve to kill himself; it is very easy to boast before 
Ohe comes to the push : insomuch that Heliogabalus, 
the most effeminate man in the world, amongst his 
most sensual pleasures, contrived to make himself 
die delicately, when he should be forced to it : and, 
•^ That his death might not give the lie to the rest 
^' of his life,t h&d purposely built a sumptuous 
•* tower, the front and base whereof was covered 
^^ and laid with planks enriched with gold and 
** precious stones, thence to precipitate himself; 
** and also caused cords, twisted with gold and 
** crimson silk to be made, wherewith to strangle 
•^ himself; and a sword, with the blade of gold, to 
^^ be hammered out to fall upon ; and kept poison 
•* in vessels of emerald and topaz, wherewith to 
^' poison himself, according as he should like to 
** choose either of these ways of dying :'* 

Impiger, et fortis virtute coacia.X 
By a forc'd valour resolute and brave. 

Yet, as for this person, the effeminacy of his prepa- 
rations makes it more likely, that his heart would 
have failed him, had he been put to the test. But 
in those who, witli great resolution, have determined 
to dispatch themselves, we must examine, whether 

• Lucan. lib. ii. ver. 171, &c. , 

f M\. Lamprid. p. 112, 113. Hist. August. 
X Lucan. lib. iv. ver. 798, Edit. Grov. in octavo. 


it were with one blow which took away the Idsurd 
of feeKng the effect ; for it is not to be questioned, 
whether perceiving life, by little and little, to steal 
away, the sentiment of the body mixing itself with 
that of the soul, and the means of repenting being 
offered, whether, I say, constancy and obstinacy, in 
so dangerous a will, is to be found. 

In the civil wars of Caesar,* Lucius Domitius^ The cow- 
being taken in Abruzzo, and thereupon Poisoning^^,',^^iyJ 
himself, afterwards repented of it. It has happened and others 
in our time, that a certain person being resolved to^r^^ 
dispatch himself, and not having gone deep enough Jj p«* 
at the first thrust, the sensibility of the flesh repuls-ioXathT 
ing his arm, he gave himself three or four wounds 
more, but could never prevail upon himself to thrust 
home. Whilst Plantius Sylvanus was upon his trial,t 
Virgularitia, his grandmother, sent him a poniard, 
with which, not being able to kill himself, he made 
his servants to cut his veins.^ Albucilla,t in Tibe- 
rius's time, having, to kill himself, struck with top 
miich tenderness, gave his adversaries opportunity 
to imprison and put him to death their own way. 
That great leader Demosthenes, after his rout in 
Sicily, did the same ^ and C. Pembria,§ having 
struck himself too weakly, intreated his servants to " 

kill him outright. On the contrary, Ostorius,|| who 
could not make use of his own arm, disdained to 
employ that of his servants to any other use, but 
only to hold the poniard straight and firm, whilst he 
run his neck full drive against it, so that it pierced 
through his throat. It is, in truth, a morsel that is 
to be swallowed without chewing, and requires the 
palate of an ostrich ; and yet Adrian, the emperor, 
made his physician nlark and encircle in his pap the 
very place wherein the man he hjad ordered to kill 

* Plutaixh in the Life of Juliiis Ca?sar, cap. 10. 
f Tacit. Annal. lib. iv. % Idem, lib- vi. 

§ Plutarch in the Life of Niclas, cap. 10« 
U Tacit. Annal. lib. xvi. 
U 2* 


him was to give the stab. For this reason it was, 
that Caesar, bbing asked, ^^ What death he thought 
" to be most desirable?*' made answer, " The 
•• least premeditated, and the shortest/'* If Caesar 
dared to say it, it is no cowardice ib me to believe 
it " A short death," says Pliny ,t " is the sove* 
** reign happiness of human life." They do not 
much care to own it : no one can say, that he is re- 
solved for death who boggles at it, and cannot un* 
dei^o it with his eyes <^en. They that we see, in 
exemplary punishments, run to their death, hasten 
and press their execution, do it not out of resolu* 
tion, but they will not give themselves leisure to 
consider it ; it does not trouble them to be dead, but 
to die: 

Eniori % noh, sed me esse morimtm nihili cesiimo.^ 
To be dead is nothing to ine ; but I fear to die. 

It is a degree of constancy tb which I know, by ex- 
perience, that he could arrive, like those who 
plunge themselves into dangers, as into the sea, with 
their eyes shut. 
The COD. There is nothing, in my opinion, more illustrious 
JSlSlu*" in the life of Socrates, than Uiat he had thirty whole 
days wherein to ruminate upon the sentence of his 
death; to have digested it all that time with a 
most assured hope, without emotion, and without 
alteration, and with words and actions rather care- 
less and indifferent than any way stirred or discom- 
The death pQsed by the weight of such a thought. That Pom- 
niM^Aui^ui ponius Atticus, to whom Cicero writes so oft, being 
by fasting, gick, causcd Agrippa, his son-in-law, and two or 
three more of his friends, to be called to him, and 
told them, ** That having found all means practised 

* Suet, in Caesare, sect. 87. 
f Nat Hist. lib. vii. cap. 53. 

X Epicharmasy the Greek philOftopbcr, was the author of the 
verse here translated by Cicef o into Latin prose. 
§ Cic Tusc. lib. i. cap. S. 

death of 

** Upon him, for his recoveiy, ta be in vain, ai)4 
^' that all he did to prolong his life did also prolong 
** and augmen.t his pain ; he was determined to put an 
*^ end both to one and the other, desiring them to 
^* approve of his resolution, or, at least, not to lose 
^* their labour in endeavouring to dissuade him."*-^ 
Kow, having chosen to detroy himself by abstinence, 
his disease was accidentally cured^ and the remedy 
he made use of to kill himself r^tored him ^o health. 
His physicians apd friends, rejoicing at so happy an 
event, and coming to congratuls^te him, were, never* 
theless, very mucQ deceived, it being impossible foi 
them to make hiip 9lt¥^ his purpose} he telling 
them, ^^ That be it ^ U would, he must one d^y die ; 
** and that, being now so far on his way, he would 
'^ save himself the labour of beginning again ano- 
** ther time/* This man, having surveyed death at 
leisure, was not only not discouraged at meeting it, 
but fully bent on it ; for being satisfied that he had 
engaged in the combat, he thought he was obliged 
in honour to see the end of it. It is far beyond not 
fearing death to desire to taste and relish it. 

The story of the philosopher Cleanthes is very cieantbes*! 
like this : " He having his gums swelled and rot- [^|^J*** 
" ten, his physicians advised him to great absti- 
" nence : having fasted two days, he was so mqch 
«* better that they pronounced him cured, and per- 
** mitted him to return to his ordinary course of 
*^ diet i he, on the contrary, would not be persuaded 
^^ to go back, but resdved to proceed, and to finish 
" the course he had so far advanced in/'t 
' Tullius Marcellinus,t a young man of Rome, The r«M>. 
having a mind to anticipate &ie hour of his destiny, |j*^^*^ 
in order to be rid of a disease that was more trouble Ronao, 
to him than he was willing to endure ; though his 
physicians assured him of a certain though not sud* 

* Corn. Nepos, in the Life of Atticus. 

f Diog. Laert. in the Life of Cleanthes, lilk^. sect. 176* 

% Senec. cp. 77^ 


den cure, called a council of his friends, to consult 
about it : " Some/* says Seneca, " gave him the 
** counsel which, from pusillanimity, they would 
** have, taken themselves ; others, out of flattery, 
** prescribed what they thought he would best like j'* 
but a Stoic said thus to him : *• Do not tease thy- 
^' selfi Marcellinus, as if thou didst deliberate of 
*• a thing of importance ; it is no great matter to 
** live ; thy servants and beasts live ; but it is a 
** great thing to die handsomely, wisdy,. and with 
** fortitude ; do but think how long thou hast done 
*' the same thing ; eat, drink, and sleep ; drink, 
^* sleep, and eat. We are incessantly wheeled round 
** in one and the saitie circle j not only ill and in- 
** supportable accidents, but even the satiety of 
" living inclines a man to desire to die/'* Marcel- 
linus did not stand in need of a man to advise, but 
of a man to assist him } his servants were afraid to 
meddle in the business ; but this philosopher gave 
them to understand, " That domestics are suspected 
*' even when it is in doubt whether the death of the 
^' master were voluntary or no ; otherwise, that it 
" would be of as ill example to hinder him as to 
*' kill him ;" forasmuch as, 

Invitum qui servat^ idem facit occidenti.f 

Who makes a person live against his will. 
As cruel is, as if he did him kill. 

The Stoic afterwards told Marcellinus, ^* That it 
^' would not be indecent, as what is left on our 
" tables when we have dined is given, to the waiters, 
** so, life being ended, to distribute something to 
" those who have been our servants/* Now Mart 
cellinus was of a free and liberal spirit ; Ke therefore 
divided a certain sum of money among his attend*- 
ants and made them easy : as to the rest, he had no 
peed of steel nor of blood ; he was resolved to gq 

♦ Senec ep. 77. 

f Ilorat. in Art. Poet, ver, ^7, 


OQt of this life, and not to run out of it ; not to es* 
cape from death, but to try it : and, to give himself 
leisure to parley with it, having forsaken all manner 
of nourishment, the third day following, when he 
had caused himself tb be sprinkled with warm water, 
he fainted by degrees, and not without some kind 
of pleasure, as he himself declared. In earnest, such 
as have been acquainted with these faintings, pro- 
ceeding from weakness, do say, that they are therein 
sen»ble of no manner of pain,, but rather feel a kind 
of delight, as in a passage to sleep and rest : these 
are deaths studied and digested. 

• But, to the end that Cato only may furnish out Death 
the whole example of virtue, it seems as if his goodJJ[J|f*^Jj . 
destiny had put his ill one into his hand, with which by Cauu 
he gave himself the blow ; seeing he had the leisure 
to confront and struggle with death, reinforcing his 
courage in the highest danger, instead of slackening 
it. And had I been to represent him to the greatest 
advantage, I would have done it in the posture of 
one tearing out his bloody bowels, rather than with 
his sword ia his hand, as did the statuaries of his 
time : for this second murder would have been much 
more furious than the ^st. 


How the Mind hampers itself. 

XT is a pleasant imagination, to fancy a mind ex«HowtiM 
actly balanced between two equal desires: ^or^^^,^^^ 
doubtless, it can never pitch upon either, as the ic» choice*^ 
choice and application would manifest an inequality J^^'^JJ^ 
of value i and were we set between the bottle and ladiicKoc 
the ham, with an equal appetite to drink and to 
eat, there would be no remedy, but to die for thirst 


and hunger. To provide against this inconvenience, 
the Stoics, when they are asked, " Whence proceeds 
** this election in the soul of two indifierent things 
** (sd as, out of a great number of crowns, rather 
^^ to take one than another, there being no reason 
" to incline us to such a preference) ;" make an- 
swer, " That this movement of the soul is extraor^ 
" dinary and irregular j that it enters into us by a 
" strange, accidental, and fortuitous impulse.*' It 
might rather, methinks, be said, that nothing pre* 
sents itself to us wherein there is not some difference, 
how little soever ; and that, either by the sight or 
touch, there is always some choice, which, though 
it be imperceptibly, tempts and attracts us. Who- 
ever likewise shall suppose a packthread equally 
strong throughout, it is utterly impossible it should 
break ; for, where will you have the fracture to be- 
gin? And that it should break altogether is not in 
nature. Whoever also would hereunto join^ the geo- 
metrical propositions, that, by the certainty of meir 
demonstrations, conclude the contained to be greater 
than the containing, the centre to be as great as the 
circumference, and that should find out two lines 
incessantly approaching each other, with no possi- 
bility of their ever meeting ; and the philosopher's 
stone, and the quadrature of the circle, where rea- 
son and the effect are so opposite, might, peradven- 
ture, draw some argument to prove it, to support 
this bold saying of Pliny :* Solum certutn nihil est 
certij et hmnine nihil miserius aut superhius : *^ That 
*' it is only certain there is nothing certain, and^ 
*' that nothing is more miserable or proud than, 

" man," 

* P]]n.lib,iLci^.7. 



That our Desires are augmented by the Difficulty of 
obtaining them* 

jL here is no reason that has not its contrary, 
say the wisest of philosophers. I sometimes rumi- 
nate on the excellent saying urged by one qf the 
ancients for the contempt of life ; ** No good can 
** bring pleasure, unless it be that foir the loss of 
** which we are prepared :*' In aqua est dolor amis^ 
ste rei^ et timor amittenda :^ " The ^ef of having 
^^ lost a things and the fear of losing it, are equal/* 
Meanings by that, that the fruition of Ufe cannot be 
truly pleasant to us, if we are in fear of losing it 

It might, however, be said on tlie contrary, that 
we grasp and embrace this good the more closely 
and afiectionately, the less assured we are of hold- 
ing it, and the more we fear to have it taken from 
us; for it is evident, that as the fire bums with 
greater fury when cold mixes with it, so our wills 
are more sharpened by being opposed : 

Si mtnquam Danaen habuisset ahejiea turris^ 
Non esset Danae de Jove facta parens.^ 

A bn^en tow'r if Danae had not had, 

She ne'er by Jove had been a mother made. 

And that there is nothing, in nature, so contrair 
to our taste as the satiety which proceeds from faci- 
lity } nor any thing that so much whets it, as rarity 
and difficulty. Omnium rerum voluptas ipso quo 
debet fugare periculo crescit:t " The pleasure of 
** every thing increases by the very danger that 
*.* should deter us iSrom it." 

Galla negOj satiatur amor nisi gaudia torquent.^ 

* Sense, ep. 98^ f Ovid. Am. lib. ii. el. 19» ver. 27* 

X Sen. do Ben. lib. vii. cap. 9. § Mart lib. iv. epig. 98- 


Galla deny, be not too eas'ly gain'd, 

For love will glut with joys too soon obtained. 

To keep love in breath, Lvcurgus made a decree, 
that the married people ot Lacedaemonia should 
never enjoy one another, but by stealth 5 and that 
it should be as great a shame for them to be taken 
in bed together, as with others. The difficulty df 
assignations, the danger of surprise, and the shame 
pfth^ next day: 

Et languor t et silentiumy 

Et latere petitus imo spiritus,* 

The languor, silence, and the far-fetch'd sighs. 

These are what give the haut-gout to the sauce : 
how many very wantonly pleasant sports arise from 
fhe cleanly and modest way of speaking of the works 
of love? The pleasure itself seeKs to be heightened 
with pain : it is much sweeter when it smarts 
and excoriates. The courtezan Flora said, " She 
•* never lay with Pompey, t but that she made him 
^ carry off the prints of her teeth." 

^uod petiercy premunt arete, faciuntque dohrem 
' Corporis^ et deiites inlidunt scepe labellis : 
Etstimulis suhsunt^ qui instisant Icedere idipsum 
Qi^odcunque est, rabies U7ide tike germina surguni.X 
What they defcir'd, they hurt, and, 'midst the bliss. 
Raise pain ; and often, with a furious kiss, 

They wound the balmy ■ . . 

But still some sting remains, some fierce desire^i 
To hurt whatever 'twas that rais'd the fire. 

And SO it is iq every thing: difficulty gives all 
things their valuq. The people qf the marquisate 
of Ancona, most cheerfully make their vows to 
Str James de Compostella, and those of Galicia to 
our lady of Loretto ; they make wonderful boasts* 
at Liege, of the baths of Lucca, and in Tuscany of 

♦ Hor. Epod. ode xi. ver. IS. 

f Plutarch, in the Life of Pompey^ cap, U 

i Lucr^t lib. iv. ver, 1072, &c. 


those of the Spa : there are few Romans seen in 
the fencing-school at Rome, which is full' of French; 
the great Cato also, like us, was out of conceit with his 
wife while she lived with hini, and longed for her 
when in the possession of another. I turned out an 
old stallion into the paddock, because he was not to 
be governed when he smelt a mare ; the facility pre- 
sently sated him, with regard to his own, but on the 
sight of strange mares, and of the first that passed by 
his pasture, he would again fall to his importunate 
neighings, and his furious heats, as before. Our 
appetite contemns and passes by what it has in pos- 
session, to run after what it has not ; 

TransvolcU in medio positOy effugieniia capiat J^ 

. Thou scom'^t that lass thou may*st with ease eqjoy. 
And court'st those that are difficult and coy : ^ 

So (sings the rake) my passion can despise 
An easy prey, but follo^^'s when it flies.f *' 

To forbid us any thing, is to make us eager for it ; 

Nisi iu seruare pueUam 

Incipis, incipiet desinere esse mea.X 

If thou no better guard that ^rl of thine^ 
l^he'll soon begin to be no longer mine. 

To give it wholly up to us, is to beget a contenipt 
of it in us : want and abundance are attended with 
the same inconvenience ; 

Tibi quod super csty mihi quod desit^ dolel.^ 

Tliy superfluities do trouble thee, 
. And what I want, and pant for, troubles me. 

Desire and fruition equally afflict us : the coyness 
of mistresses is disagreeable, but facility, to say truth, 
js more so ; as discontent and anger spring from the 
esteem we have of the tiling desired ; love warms and 

* Herat, lib-i. sat 2, ver. 108. f M'* Franci*. 

1 Ovid. Amor. lib. ii. el. 19, ver. 47. 
§ Terent. Phormio, act. i. sc. S, ver, 9« 



ttimulates^ but satiety begets disgust ; it is a blunt* 
^uUj stupid, and sleepy passion : 

Si qua volet regnare din^ ccntemnat amantem s 
— — Contemnite^ amanteSj 
Sic hodie venieiy si qua negavit heriJ^ 

She that would keep n youth in love*8 sofk fhair. 
If she be wise^ will sometimes ^ve him pain : 
And the same policy with men will do^ 
If they sometimes do slight their misses too ; 
By which mei^s she that yesterday said nay^ 
Will come and offer up herself to-day .f 

Why did Pcmpea invent the use of a mask to hide 
her beautiful iaee» but to enhance it to her lovers } 
Why have tbey veiled, even below the heels, those 
beauties that every one desires to show> and every 
one desires to see? Why do they cover, wiih so 
many hindr^^nces, one over another, the parts where 
pur desires, and their own, have their principal 
seat ? And to what end are those great hooped bas* 
tions, with which our ladies fortify their haunches, 
but to allure our appetite, and to draw us the 
nearer to them, by removing ua the farther firon:^ 

Effugit ad saUceSy et se cufnt ante videri.^ 
And to the willows flies to be concealed. 
Yet still d^ires to have her flight reveal'd^ 

hUerdtim tunica dvxit operta moram.^ 

Things, being laid too open to the sights 
Instead of raising, lessen the delight. 

To what use serves the artifice of this virgin me* 
.desty, this grave, this severe countenance, this prQ^ 
fession to be ignorant of things that they know bet-i 
ter than we who instruct them, but to increase upt 
us the desire to overcome, control, aod take our 

* Ovid. Amor. lib. ii. el. 19, ver. SS. 
' Propert. lib. ii. eleg. 14, ver. 19, 90m. 

: Virg. eclog. S, ver. 65. 

\ Propert l£. ii. oleg. IS, ver. 6« 


ffmll, in spite of all this ceremony, and all diese ob- 
btaclea? for it is not only a pleasure, but a glory, to 
conquer and debauch that soft sweetness, and that 
childish modesty, and to reduce a cold and matron*- 
Wee gravity to the mercy of our ardent desires : " It 
** is a glory,'* said they, " to triumph over mo- 
^^ desty, chastity, and temperance-," and whoever 
dissuades ladies from those qualities, betrays both 
them and himself It must be believed that their 
hearts tremble with fear ; that the very sound of our 
words ofiend their chaste ears ; that they hate us for 
talking so, and only yield to our importunity by a 
compmsion. Beauty, powerful as it is, has not 
"wherewith to make itself relished, without the inter-* 
vention of these little arts. Look into Italy, where 
there is the most and the finest beauty to be sold, 
iiow it is under a necessity to have recourse to other 
means, and other artifices, to render itself charm« 
ing } and yet, in truth, whatever it does, being ve- 
nial and public, it remains feeble and languishing 
in itself: even as in virtue, of two like effects, w^, 
notwithstanding, look upon that as the best, and 
most worthy, wherein the most hindrance and 
liazard is proposed. 

It is an effect of the divine Providence to sufifer^^JJjJSod 
liis holy church to be afflicted, as we see it, with so^ordito 
many storms and trouble, by this opposition to rouse ^'*'*^ 
pious souls, and to awake them irom that lazy le-* 
thargy, into which, by so long tranquillity, they had 
been immerged : were we to put the loss we have 
sustained, by the number of those who have gone 
astray, in the balance against the benefit we nave 
had, by being again put in breath, and by having 
our zeal and forces exercised by reason of this oppo- 
sition, I know not whether the utility would not 
surmount the damage. 

We have thought to tie the nuptial knot more fastwhetiw 
and firm, by taking away all means of dissolving it',ri^~Jei« 
but the knot of the will and affection is so much thc^o^^"^ 
more slackened, by how much that constraint isb|^^!l!^g 


•w«y the drawn closer together. On the contrary that which 
SSoShfl^ng Jtept the marriages at Rome so long in honour, and 
^- itiviolate, was the liberty every one, that would', 

had to break them. They k^t their wives the bet* 
ter, because they might part with them if they 
would ; and in the full liberty of divorces they lived 
fifty years, and more, before any one made use of 

Quod licet J ingratum est, qiiod non licet, acrius writ.* 

What's free \^^ are disgusted at, and slight J 
What is forbidden whets the appetite. 

\Ve might here introduce the opinion of one of the 
ancients, upon this occasion, " That executions ra- 
*^ ther whet than dull the edge of vices : that they 
** do not beget the care of doing well, that being 
^* the work of reason and discipline, but only a care' 
** not to be taken in doing ill." 

Laiius exciscB pestis amtagia serpvnt/f 

Tlie plague-sore being lanc'd, th' infection spteadis. 

I do not know that this is true ; but I experimen- 
tally know that civil government never was, by that 
means, reformed : the order and regulation of man- 
ners depend upon some other expedient. 
'^pJ^ The Greek histories make mention of the Agrip- 
ttv^Tdcon! pians,t neighbours to Scythia, who live either with- 
lentediy gut rod or stick to ofTcud, that not only no one at- 
ly iJithout tempts to attack them, but whoever can fly thither 
Erosive jg gg^g^ jjy reason of their virtue and sanctity of life, 
and no one is so bold as there to lay hands upon 
them ; and they have applications made to them, to 
determine the controversies that arise between men 
of other countries. There is a certain nation, where 
the inclosures of gardens and fields, which they 
would preserve, is made only of a string of cotton- 
yarn ; and, so fenced, is more firm and secure than 

• Ovid. Amor, lib. i, el. 19, ver. S. 
f Rutilius in Itinerario, lib. i. ver. S97* 
% Ilerodot. lib. iv. p. 263. 


out hedges and ditches. Furem signata solicitant : 
aperta ^ractarius praterit ;* " Things sealed up, 
•' invite a thief; house-breakers pass by open 
« doors/' 

Perhaps the facility of entering my house^ MoDiaigne 
amongst other things, has been a means to preserve J* fp;<,i."„* 
it from the violence of our civil wars : defence al* }»oos«» du^- 
lures an attempt, and defiance provokes an attack. ^yV^m' 
I enervated the soldiers* design, by depriving the ex-, 
ploit of all danger, and all matter of military glory, 
which is wont to serve them for pretence and ex- 
cuse. Whatever is done courageously, is ever done 
honourably, at a time when the laws are silent. I 
Tender the conquest of my house cowardly and 
base to them ; it is never shut to any one that 
knocks. My gate has no other guard than a porter, 
by ancient custom and ceremony, who does not so 
much serve to defend iu as to offer it with more de- 
cency, and the better grace. I have no other guard 
or centinel than the stars. A gentleman would be 
in the wrong to make a show of defence, if he be 
not really in a condition to defend himself. He 
that lies open on one side, is every where so. Our 
ancestors did not think of building frontier garri- 
sons. The methods of assaulting, I mean, without 
battery and army, and of surprising our houses, in- 
crease, every day above the means to. guard them. 
Men's wits are generally sharp set that way : invasion 
every one is concerned in, none but the rich in de- 
fence. Mine was strong for the time when it was 
built; I have added nothing to it of that kind, and 
should fear lest its strength would turn against him- 
self; besides which, we are to consider that a peace- 
able time would require it to be xlismantled. There 
is danger never to be able to regain it, and it would 
be very hard to secure it : for, in intestine commo- 
tions, your man may be of the party you fear : and 
where religion is the pretext, even a roan's nearest 

* Scnec cp. 68. 


relation becomes faithless with a colour of justice. 
The public exchequer will not maintain our domes- 
tic garrisons ; they would exhaust it : we ourselves 
have not wherewith to do it without our ruin, or, 
which is more inconvenient and injurious, without 
ruining the people : as to the rest you thereby los^ 
all, and even your friends will be ready to accuse 
your want of vigilance, and your improvidence^ 
than to pity you, as well as to blame your igno- 
rance or lukewarmness in the duties of your pro- 
fession. That so many garrisoned houses have been 
lost, while this of mine remains, makes me apt to 
believe, that they were only lost by being guarded. 
This gives an enemy both a strong inclination and 
colour of reason : all watching and warding shows a 
iace of war. Let who will come to me, in God's 
name, but I shall not invite them : it is the retii:e- 
ment I have chosen for my repose firom war : I en- 
deavour to sequester this comer from the public 
tempest, as I also do another corner in my soul. 
Our war may put on what forms it will, multiply 
and diversity itself into new parties ; for my own 
part I shall not budge. Amongst so many garri- 
soned houses, I am the only person, of my condi- 
tion, that I know of, who have purely intrusted 
mine to the protection of heaven, without removing 
either plate, deeds, or hangings. I will neither 
fear nor save myself by halves. If a full acknow- 
ledgment can acquire the divine favour, it will con- 
tinue with me to the end : if not, I have staid long 
enough to render my continuance remarkable, and 
fit to be recorded: How? Why, I have lived there 
thirty years. 

or GLORT. tOS 



L HERE as Ikft imiie and tiie tiling ; the mune 
is a void which denotes and signifies the thi^g;^ 
the name is no part of the tilling, or of the flubsCancet 
it is a foreign piece j(niied to the thii^ and yet 

God» who is dil fidiuss in himself, and the beigiit How the 
ef ail perftcdon, cannot aagment or addany thinir?^®^. 
to hna^intrinricany^ byname mayi m^!^:^':' 
mented and increased by the biessin^ and praise ire 
attribute to his exterior works : which fnoisc^ see- 
ing we cannot incorporate it in him, as he can have 
no accession of good, we attribute to his name'; 
which is the part out of him that is nearest to us. 
Thus is it, that to God alone glory and honour ap- 
pertain ; and tliere is nothing so remote from rea- 
son, as that we should go in quest of it for our- 
selves; for being indigent and necessitons witinn, 
our essence being imperfect, and having continual 
need of melioration, it is for that we ought to la- 
bour : we are all hollow and empty ; it is not with 
wind and voice that we are to fill ourselves ; we want 
a more solid substance to repair us. A man, starved 
with hunger, would be very simple to loijk out ra^ 
ther a gay garment, than a good meal: we are to 
look after that whereof we nave most need : as we 
have it in our ordinary prayers^ Gloria in ejrcel&ii 
Deoj et in terrd pax hominibus :* ^* Glory be to God 
** on high, and in earth peace, &c.'' We are in 
great want of beauty, health, wisdom, virtue, wad 
such like essential qualities :» exterior . ornaments 
sliould be looked after, when we have made provf* 
sion for necessary things. Theology treats amply, 

* St Luke, ehap. ii, irer. 14. •^ 


306 OF GLORT. 

and more pertinently of this subject; but I am not 

much versed in it. 

Phiiow- Chiysippus and Diogenes* were the first and the 

pmched^ stoutcst champions for the contempt of glory ; and 

up the cou- maintained, ^^ That, of all pleasures, there was 

^^y^ ®' ** none more dangerous, nor more to be avoided^ 

^^ than that which proceeds from the approbation of 

** others." And, in truth, experience make us 

sensible of its very hurtful treachery. There is 

nothing that so much poisons princes, as flattery, 

nor any thing whereby wicked men more easily ob^ 

tain credit with them : nor is there any pandarism 

80 proper, and so often made use of, to corrupt the 

chastity of women, as to wheedle and entertain them 

with their own praises. The first charm the 

Syrens made use of to inveigle Ulysses, is of this 

nature : 

Deca vers nous, deca o tres hualle Ulysse^f 
Et le plus grand honneur dont la Grecejleurisse.% 

Noble Ulysses, turn thee to this side, 
Thou Greece's greatest ornament and pride. 

Those philosophers said, ^' That all the glory of the 
^' world was not worth an understanding man's 
^^ holding out his finger to obtain it." 

Gloria quantalibet quid erii, si gloria tanium est f § 
What more than glory is the greatest fame ? 

Glory to be I say, that alouc : for it often brings several commo- 
th!^^Jlrdities along with it, for which it may be desired : it 
tagef u acquires us good-will, and renders us less subject 
""**' and exposed to the injuries of others, and the like- 
It was also one of the principal doctrines of Epicu- 
rus } for this precept of his sect, live obscurely, that 
forbids men to encumber themselves with ofiices and 
public negotiations, does also, necessarily, presup- 
pose a contempt of glory, which is the world's ap- 
^ . . ■■ * 

* Cic. de FinibuSy lib. iiL cap. 17. f Petrarch. 

:|: Homer. Odyis..lib« xii. ver. 184k j Juv. sat. viL yen SI. 

OF GLORY. sot 

probation of those actions we produce to light. He 
that bids us conceal ourselves, and to have no other 
concern but for ourselves, and that will not have 
us known to others, would mudh less have us ho- 
noured and glorified. He advises Idomeneus also, 
*' Not, in any sort, to regulate his actions by the 
** common reputation or opinion, except it be to 
^' avoid the other accidental inconveniences, which 
^' the contempt of men might bring upon him." 

Those discourses are, in my opinion, very just Proof iha^ 
and rational; but we are, I know not how, of a^jJ^^^'JJJ'* • 
twofold nature, which is the cause, that what wegiory. 
believe, we do not believe, and cannot disengage 
ourselves from what we condemn. Let us see the 
last dying words of Epicurus ; they are great, and 
worthy of such a philosopher, and yet they carry 
some marks of the recommendation of his name, 
and of that humour he had decried by his precepts. 
Here is a letter that he dictated a little before his 
last gasp :• ■ 

Epicurus to Hermachus, Greeting. 

" WHILST I was passing over the happy and' 
" the last day of my life, 1 wrote this ; but, at the 
" same time, was afilicted with such a pain in my 
*' bladder and bowels, that nothing can be greater : 
*' but it was recompensed with the pleasure, which 
** the remembrance of my inventions and doctrines 
*' suggested to my soul. Now, as the affection thou 
** hast ever had, from thy infancy, for me, and 
" philosophy does require ; take upon thee the pro- 
*\tcction of Metrodorus's children.** 

So much for his letter. And that which makes 
nre interpret, that the pleasure he says he felt in 
his soul, concerning his inventions, has some re- 
ference to the reputation he hoped for after his 

^ Cic. de Fin. lib. ii. cap. SO. 

9^ ^t cw^y. 

4eath, |t t^t 41spCMiti0fi of his will. |u yfhif^ bf 

gives ordei', *' That; Aminomachus^ and Timoorata^ 

" his heirs, should eyery J^qu^u*^ deh^ i^e ^Xr 

^^ pense. for the celebration of his n^^vity, which 

^< Henn^chus ^hpulc} appoint; and 9]«o the eiiip^nffi 

" thftt would te incurred) the (went^e^ day oif 

<< every moon, in entert^ing the philoi^phers, his 

*^ friends, who should assemble in hoopur qC the 

** memory of hina and Metrodorus*" 

Sa3e*fo Cameades was head of the contrary opinion i and 

ittdf.* ' niaintdinod, *^ That glory wj^s to be d^W^d for i^ 

^^ self, even as we epibrace our po^thunio^is ^ne &f 

^^ themselves, ijdthout anj^ knowledge or enjoyment 

" of them/'t This opinion was niipre umversally 

followed, as those re^duy are, that are niost suitable 

to oyr inclinations. Aristotle giv^s it iJhe ^rst pk^e 

amongst external goods j and avoids, as two viciouus 

extremes, the in)inoder£(te pursuit of it^ qx rnnning 

from it 

Tbemit- I belicvc, that had we the books which Cicero 

IhSi who wrote upon this subject, we would there read fine 

thought stories of it; for he was so possessed with this pas- 

wat on7y* sion, that, if he had dared, I think he would wil- 

desirable lingly havc &llen into the excess that others did, 

g1oiy*that viz. " That virtue itself was only to be coveted on 

accompa- «« account of the hououT that always attcods it z^' 

Died It. ^ ^ 

Cicero Pauliim scpuliiB difioi imrt'kB 

roS of"" ^^^^ VtrtuS^-^— X 

f lory* Inactive virtue is the same as none. 

Which is an opinion so false, that I 9m surprised \t 
could ever enter into the understanding of a m^ 
who was honoiired with the name of a philosopher. 
If this was true, men need not be virtuous but in 
public, nor be any farther cQnqejned tp keep the 
operations of the soul, which is the, true seat ojT vir- 

• Cic. de Fin. lib. ii. cap- ai • 

f Idem, lib. iii. cap. 17. Heve Mootairiif it guill^r of a mistake^ 
for Cicero did not criarge Carneades with this opinion, but other 
ph i Josophers of Zeno's sect. 

X Hor. lib. iv. od. 9, ver. 29. 


Of'dLOiElt. . sod 

tue^ f eghkr, and in order, than ai they a^6 to drriv6 
ftt the knowledge of others. Is there no more in it 
thtti doing an ill thing dily ? " If thou knOM^est/' 
says Cameades, •• of a serpent lurking iii a place, 
** where, without suspicion, a pfersdn ife goihg to sit 
" down, by whose death thou expectest ah advaii- « 
*• tag^, thou dost 111 if thou dost liot give him caii- 
*• tiott of his danger ; and so mttch the niore, be- 
•*. cause the action id to be knowti Ity none but 
•* thyself.*** If we do not ourselves maintain a rule 
<tf Well-doing ; if impunity passes with us for justice i 
td how many sorts of wicMedness shall wCj every day^ 
bbandon ourselves ? I do not find What Sext. Pedu- 
fc6Us did, in feithfully restoring the treasure that C 
Plotiiis had committed to his sole confidende (a thing 
that I have often done myself), so commendable, as 
I should think it eke^fable, had he done otherwise : 
and think it of good use, in our days^ to call to 
fnind the e5cample of P. Sextilius Rufiis,t whom Ci- 
defO accuses of " having entered upon an ihheri- 
•* tAhtit Contrary to his conscience, not only not 
•* against law, but even by the determination of the 
" Ifcw^ themselves." And M. Crassus and Q. Hor- 
tendils, who, &om their authority and power, having 
b^en called in, by a stranger^ to share in a succes- 
AoTii bV Vittiib of a forged will, that so he might sor 
6\it6 his own part, ^atisflfed themselves With having 
*o hand in the fctfgery, ind rfefUSfed not to tiiake 
tihdt- advantage of it; thinking themselves saft 
enough, if they eoiild shroud thenl^elvfes from accu- 
i^atidns^ witnesses, and the cognizance of the laWs. 
M&ihineriHt Deufh se habere testefrij id est (ut ego 
drbitrbt-) ftkritein suam :t ** Let theiri consider, they 
•* hav6 God to witness, that is, (as I interpret it) 
^* their oWn cOnscientfes." 

Virtue is a very vain and fnVdloW thing, if it dd- ^^"^^^^ 
tivto iUf fe^ofnmendatioil froni glory : and it is tomToiou * 

* Fin. lib, ii. cap. iSf. f Idexb, ibidL t^. it. 

t Cie; de dffic Eb. UL cap. la 

310 OF GLORY, 

thinpjfit no purpose, that we endeavour to give it a station 
fecililJiiin- ^y itself, and separate it from fortune ; for what is 
dationfrom more accidental than reputation ? Proftcto Fortuna 
*^*®'^' in omni re dominatur : ea res cunctas ex libidine^ 
magis quam e.v vero celebrate obscuratque :• " For- 
^' tune rules in all things, and advances and de- 
f* presses them more from caprice than from right 
*' and justice/* So to order it, that actions may be 
known and seen, is purely the work of fortune ; it is 
a chance that helps us to glory, according to its own 
temerity. I have often seen her go before merit, 
and very much outstrip it. He that first likened 
glory to a shadow, did better than he was aware of: 
they are both of them things egregiously vain: 
• glory also, like a shadow, goes sometimes before the 
body, and sometimes in length very much exceeds 
it. They that instruct gentlemen only to employ 
their valour for the obtaining of honour : Quasi, non 
sit honestuniy quod nobilitatum non sit ;t ^' As though 
.*' it were not honourable, unless ennobled ;" what 
do they intend by that, but to instruct them never to 
hazard themselves, if they are not seen ; and to take 
great care, that there be witnesses present, who may 
spread the news of their valour : whereas a thousand 
occasions of well-doing present themselves, when we 
cannot be taken notice of? How many brave ac- 
tions are buried in the crowd of a battle ? Whoever 
.takes upon him to censure another, in such a confu- 
sion, has scarce any hand in it ; and the testimony 
he gives of his companion's behaviour, is evidence 
against himself. »Vera et sapiens animi magnitudo ho- 
nestum illud quod maxime naturam sequitur^ infactis 
positum^ non in gloria judicat :X " True magnanimity 
** judges, that the bravery which most follows na- 
" ture consists in the action, not in the glory.*' All 
the glory that I pretend to in my life, is that I have 
lived in quiet ; in a tranquillity, not according to 

♦ Sallust. in Catalin. p. 5. Mattaire. 

f Cic. de Ofiic. lib. i. cap. 4. X Idemi lib. i. cap. 19«^ 

OF GLORY. 811 

Metrodonis, Arcesflaus, or Aristippus, but accord- 
ing to myself; for, seeing philosophy has not been 
able to find out any way to tranquillity, that is good 
in common, let every one seek it in particular. To 
what do Cffisar and Alexander owe the infinite gran- 
deur of their renown, but to Fortune ? How many 
men has she extinguished in the beginning of theu* 
progress, of whom we have no knowledge ; who 
Drought as much courage to the work as they, if 
their evil destiny had not stopped them short at their 
first setting out ? Amongst so many and so great 
dangers, I do not remember I have any where read, 
that Caesar was ever wounded; a thousand have 
fidlen in less dangers, than the least of those he went 
through. A great many brave actions must have 
perished without witness, and before one turns to 
account. A man is not always on the top of a 
breach, or at the head of an army, in the sight of 
his general, as upon a scafibld. A man is oft sur- 
prised between the hedge and the ditch ; he must 
run the hazard of his life against a hen-roost ; he 
must dislodge four rascally musketeers out of a 
bam ; he must single out himself from his party, 
and make some attempts alone, according as necessity 
requires: and whoever will observe, wiS, I believe, 
find it experimentally true, that actions of the least 
lustre are the most dangerous ; and that, in the wars 
of our own times, there have more brave men been 
lost on slight occasions, and in the dispute about 
some paltry fort, than in places of note and dignity. 

He who thinks his death unworthy of him, unless vihto 
he fall on some signal occasion, instead of render- ?q"uV(«/for 
injr his death celebrated, wilfidly obscures his life, **» •''"^ 
8unrenng,-in the mean time, many proper opportuni- p.ndcni of 
ties of hazarding himself, to slip out of his hands: p"pj|J^ 
and every just one is illustrious enough ; every man's 'SSr 
conscience being a sufficient trumpeter to him. 
Gloria nostra est^ testimonium conscientia nostra ;* 

♦ 2 Cor. chap. i. tct. If. 

318 OFtSJtQRY*. 

^ For otir rejoiciBg is thky tlie testanony oicm cc9i- 
^^ science/' He who ia a good man only that men 
may know it» and that be may be the better esteemed 
§or its when it is known } he who will not do weU^ 
but upon condition that his virtue may be knowB 
to men, m one from whom mueh service is not to 
be expected: 

Credo cK el resto di quel verna cose 
Paeesse degne di temtne tento : 
Mafia' fin a quBl tempo sk nasc^se, 
Che mn e colpa ima s'h§r'n9n le c^nt^^ 
Perche Orlando a far* opre vhriuo&R 
Piu ch'a narrar lepoi semf>re era pronto ; 
Ne matfii alcun de siioifatti espresso, 
Se non qnaruT hebhe i testimom appresio.* 

The rest o' th'wiatcr^ I presume, wa9 spent 
In acticm» worthj of eternal fame ; 

l^Uch hMlefto are m sueh darkHttsspeat, 
Tbatv if I name tham ooty Fw noi ta Uame i 

Qrlaado's qoble mhA was still mora bent 
To do great act% than bo^it him of the same : 

So that no deeds of his were ever knomrn. 

But those that luckily had lookers on. 

A 9an} mu&t go to the w» to discharge Ms dttiy^ 
»ad wait £ov the recompence that never £u]a to. at- 
tend all brave actions, how concealed soever, iiCNr so 
smich as virtuous^ thoughts ; it is the satis&ction that 
a welt-di^oeed conscience receiver in itself, to do 
well : a man must be valiant for himself, and &Mr the 
advanti^e it is to him^ to have \m courage in a final 
aod seeure situatiofi^ against the assaults of fortune : 

Virtns reptdstB neseia sordidtBy 
hUanmatiis fidget hnumSms : 
Nee sumit, autponU secures 
Jriiirio popiilmis aur^.f 

Virtue, that ne'er cepvise a4mito^ 
In taintless honour gloriniis sils ; 
Nor grandeur seeks, nor from it ffias, 
As the mere noise of vulgar eries. 

* Orlando's Ariosto, cant. xi. stanz. 81. ' 

f Hor. lib* lib e<|ei ^ ?er* 17, See. 


It is Hot to make a parade^ that the deal is to play 
its part, bat for oiinelves within, where no eyes can 
pierce, but our owb > there she defends hi from the 
fear cxf death, of pains, and shame itself i she therd 
afibs us against the loss of our children, ftidnds, and 
fortunes : and, when opportunity presents itself, die 
leads us on to the hazards of war. Non entdtumenta 
aliqua^ sed ipHus honestmtis decore : *^ Not for any 
^^ em^umetit, but for the honour of virtue." TIm Hooovr, 
18 a much greater advantage, and more worthy to be ^'^^ ^^ '^ 
coveted a^ hoped for than honour and glory; which 
is no other than a fovourable judgment formed of us» 

A dozen men nnist be ciuled out of a whole na* How con- 
tion, to judge of an acre oflai^; and the judgment ^°£fjS2^ 
of our inclinations and actions, tibe most importjlnt»«n<of^ 
of an Ihiitgs, we refa to the voof populi^ too oftett ""'***'""*• 
the mother of ignorance, injustice, and inconstancy. 
Is it reasonable, that the life of a wise man should 
depend upon the jodgm^t of fods i An fui(huaiH 
stuttiui^ quam qu0$ singular CMUmnasi e&$ aliquid 
putare tstt univtrso^ f* ^ Can ahy thjng be more 
^^ foolish than to think, that those you despise «n- 
" gle, are estimable in the bulk ?" He that makes 
it ms business to please them, will never succeed ; 
it is a mark that never is to be reached or hit. Nil 
Usm kustmabiU e^i qmm atAmi muU%tudim$ : ^^ Ko- 
'^ thing is to be so little esteenned^ a^ the jti(%ment 
^ of the multitude.'' Demetrius plea^ntly sadd of 
the voice of the people, ** That be made no more 6f 
^^ that which came from above, than of that which 
^ fomed from below/' Cicerot says more, Egd 
kac ju£coy ri qnando tutpe mn sk^ tamen mn 
esse m>n tt^pe^ ^fuum id a muUituiim kmdetur : 
^ I am of opimoa, that though a thing be not 
fold in itself, yet it cannot but become so Wbeft 
commended by the. mukftudie.'^ No art, no • 
desetefit^ covitd conduct our steps, in following so 
wandering and so irregular a guide. In this wittdy 

• Cic. Tusc. Quaest. lib- v. ver. 36. 
i €i0L d0. Fb&H^ tf. cap. JiS. 

314 OF 6L0RY. 

confusion of tlie noise of vulgar reports and opi- 
nions, that drive us on, no good path can oe 
chosen. Let us not propose to ourselves an end so 
floating and wavering ; let us follow constantly after 
reason ; let the public approbation follow us m that 
road, if it will; and as it wholly depends upon for- 
tune, we have no rule sooner to expect it by any 
other way than that. Though I would not follow 
the right way, because it is right, I should, however, 
follow it, for having experimentally found, that, at the 
end of the reckoning, it is commonly the most happy, 
and of the greatest utility. Dedit hoc providentia 
hominibus munuSj ut honesta magisjuvarent : *' This 
** gift Providence has given to man, that honest 
" things should be most delightful.*' The mariner 
said thus to Neptune, in a great storm, " O God, 
** thou mayest save me if thou wilt, and, if thou wilt, 
** thou mayest destroy me ; but I will steer my rud- 
** der true." I have seen, in my time, a thousand men 
of supple mongrel natures, and who no one doubted 
but they were m6re worldly wise than I, ruin them- 
selves where I have saved myself: 

R'lsi success2is posse carere dolos.* 

I laugh'd to see their unsuccessful wiles. 

Paulus ^milius, going upon the fflorious expedi- 
tion of Macedonia, above all things charged the peo- 
ple of Rome, " not to speak of his actions during 
" his absence." What a disturbance is the licence 
of judgments to great aifairs ! every one has not the 
constancy of Fabius, to oppose common, adverse, 
and injurious tongues, who rather sufiered his autho- 
rity to be dissected by the vain &.ncies of man, than 
to fail in his duty, with a favourable reputation, and 
popular applause. 
Pr»is9 and fherc IS I kuow not what natural sweetness in 
repauiion hearing a man's self commended ; but we area great 
!:^Jha'' deal toQ fond of it: 

Laudari haud metuam, neque enim mihi cornea fbra est, 

* Oyid. Ep. Penelopes ad Ulyssenu 

Sed recii^nemque extremuH/nque esse recuso 

Euge tuuMy et belle. t"^* 

I fear not to be prais'd, I must confess^ 
My heart is not of horn ; but, ne'ertheless, 
I must deny the only eiid and aim 
Of doing well is to hear man exclaim^ 
O noble act ! eternal be thy fame ! 

I care not so much what I am in the opinion of 
others, as what I am in my own : I would be rich 
of myself, and not by borrowing. Strangers see no- 
thing but events and outward appearances ; every 
body can set a good face on the matter, when they 
have trembling and terror within. They do not see 
my heart, they only see my countenance. It is with 
good reason that men decry the hypocrisy that is in 
^war ; for what is more easy to an old soldier, than 
to step aside from dangers, and to bluster, when he 
has no more heart than a chicken ? There are so 
many ways to avoid hazarding a man's own person, 
that men have deceived the world a thousand times, 
before they are engaged in a real danger ; and, even 
then, finding themselves at a nonplus, they can 
make shift, for that time, to conceal their apprehen- 
sions, by setting a good face on the business, though 
the heart beats within ; and whoever had the use of 
the Platonic ring, which renders those invisible that 
wear it, if turned inward towards the palm of the 
hand, a great many would, very often, hide them- 
selves when they ought most so appear ; and would 
repent being placed in so honourable a post, where, 
of necessity, they must be bold : 

Falsus honor juvatf et mendax infamia terret, 
Quern nisi mendosum, et mendqcem ff 

False honour pleases, false rumours do disgrace ' 
And frighten : whom ? Dunces, and liars base. 

Thus we see how uncertain and doubtful are all the 
judgments that are founded upon external appear- 
ances, and that there is not so sure a testimony as 

* Persius, sat. i. ver. 47. f Hor. lib. i. epist. 16, Ter. 89, 40. - 


every man is to Uittfttf i ill thMe Others^ hOW many 

ewder-monkeys have WB ccJflipanloiis df duf glory ? 
e that stands firffi in aft Ofito tf etlch, whM do^ he, 
in that, mor* thdtt -WhtA fifty pOOf piotieers, who 
Open the way for hini^ aiid cover it with their own 
bodies, for five pehee a day, have done before him ? 

■ > Nan qukqiAd turlnda Soma 
ttevei, a€cedas, examenque impr9lum in ilia 
CdStigis truAndy nee te qucesiveris extra^ 

— -■ Whatever muddy-head^ Rome 
fijtf Ob Of eeiiSiirte, triist tiot to its doom ; 
Stinil iiiA to th'^ii^d 6f ail ill-jtidgiitg tottnl, 
Mof by lis fetet soale M}u^ yOUf own ; 
iyo> no^ for other judgments n^ 170 9/fOf tf^ 
To ktiow thy^lf^ thyself alone exploft* 

lrh« (bEtending tod iCfttterlUg oUf ttatttte itttb 
Malty' Mouths, We eall ^grandlsing them : wcT woilld 
iUit^e ihtftk the^e irell rfeceited, and that this increase 
Afffi «6 «Mt ftdt^ntagti, which i^ all that can bef et« 
l!ttsMibl6 m thi* desigtl ; but the excei^s of this dise^dfe 

rMeM^ s6 ftr, tW mant cov^ to hstve a tlame, bfe 
lirhi* \i will. Tro^s Polnpdtrt liays of Merostfa- 
ftt»^ aM Titter Livius of Mantftts CapitaHtius,+ ** Thjrt 
^ th^y wer*r more aMbitioils of a great f epntatiofl, 
^ titttri K good one." This vice is very fcommoo : 
#« at« itiOf^ idUdtons that men speak i^ 11^, thitfi 
bow A^y speak ; and it is enough, for tls, that diir 
M^Mes are often inantioned, be it ai^er what mannet 
)i "tviU. It should ilCem, that to be known, is, in 
IdfH^ sort, to have a tttatr's Mi, and its duration, ift 
another's keeping. 1, fbr my part^ hoM^ that 1 afh 
not but in myself $ and of tiitft other life of mine, 
which lies in the kfic^ledge Of my friends, ix^ consi- 
der it ndsed and «i»ply in itself I know^ very well, 
that I am setisibte of no frtrit xtoi MjoymMtt of it, 
but bv the vanity of » fantastic ofHaicm y and) whdfi 
t shali be dead, I shall be much less sensible oi it ; 
and if I shally withal^ absolutely lode the Use of thme 

Qt 9Lf»Y0 SIT 

real ftdyimtaj^» tfaait, aometunc^, acddentally feUov 
it, I abaU tove no more handle whereby to take 
hold of, or ta reach to me : for, to expect that my 
PAme should be advanced by it, in ^the first pl^ce, 1 
have no name that is enongh my ovn j of two th^t I 
have, one is common to aU my rac?, and even to others 
also : there is que family at Paris and Montpelier, 
whose surname is Montaigne j another in Brittany, 
and another Montaigne in Xaintonge. Tbfi trans- 
position of one syllable only will so confound our 
afbirs, that I shall, perhaps, share in their glory, 
and they in my shame; and, moreover, my an- ^ . 
cestprs have, formerly, been sumamed Eyquem, *a v '' ' 
a name that borders on that of a fajnily well known 
in England : as to my other name, ^very one may 
take it that will : and so, perhaps, I may honour fk 
porter in my own stead. Besides, though I had a 
particular distinction by myself, what can it distin- 
guish when I am no ipofe } Can it point out apd fk- 
vour annihilation : 

' I Nunc levior cippus non imprmii o^sc^ 
Laiidat posteritas^ nunc non e manibus illis^ 
Niine nm i tumt^fortimaiaqueJqvUki 
Nascuniur vioke P * ■ -■ 

Will, after this, thy maaiMmulal ston^ 
Pres9 with less weight upoi^ thy rotted hones? 
Posterity commends thee : happy thou ! 
Will not thy manes »uch a gtft bestoWj 
A3 to make violets from thy ^es grow ? 

9i3t of thh I have spoken elsewhere Aa to ifh^ 
i(9t9ains, in a gp^at hattle» where tm thoumsd mm 
are maimed or killed, there aw not fifteen that Mf 
takeQ notiee.of : it mwst he some very ewiiient gmfe- 
ness, or some eircttoistaweQ of great iinportanee> which 
fiu'tuqe Im tapked to it» that JOfiust signalise a pri- 
vate actian, i>ot gf a musketeer ooiyt Iwt. of a gf eat 
captain \ for to kiU a mmy of two» or ton» to wpw^ 
a iRap^s Mlf bravely to A^tlu h indeed smnetmfltgr 
to every one of us, because we all nm the hazard j 

^ Fe^. sat. i. v«f\ ST- 

818 OP 6L0RT. 

but as for the woiid in the general, they are thin^ 
so common, so many of them are every day seen, 
and there must, of necessity, be so many of the same 
kind, to produce any notaole effect, that we cannot 
expect any particular renown from them : 

Casus multis hie cognitus, acjam 

TrituSy et Imedioforttmce ductus acervo.* 

Many have known this case, which now, worn old. 
With common acts of fortune is enroU'd. 

Of SO many thousands of valiant men that have 
died, within these fifteen hundred years, in France, 
with their swords in their hands, not a hundred have 
come to our knowledge : the memory, not of the 
comnoanders only, but of the battles and victories, is 
buried. The fortunes of above half of the world, 
for want of a record, stir not from their place, and 
vanish without duration. If I had unknown events 
in my possession, I should think, with great ease, to 
out-do those that are recorded in examples of every 
kind. Is it not strange, that, even of the Greeks and 
Romans, amongst so many writers and witnesses, 
and so many rare and noble exploits, so few are ar- 
rived at our knowledge ? 

Ad nos vix tenuis farms perlalitur aura.f 

Which fame to these our times has scarce brought down. 

Tbe Muses It will bc much if, a hundred years hence, it be re- 

Mto by^1lc membered, in gross, that, in our times, there were 

Lacedae. civil wars in France. The Lacedaemonians entering 

JSkTwiIJ'. into battle, sacrificed to the Muses, to the end that 

their actions might be well and worthily written ; 

looking upon it as a divine and no ordinary favour, 

that brave acts should find witnesses that could ^ve 

them life and remembrance. Do we expect, mat, 

at every musketrshot we receive, and at every hazard 

we run, there must be a register ready to record 

them ? Besides, a hundred registers may enrol then>, 

* Juv. sat. xiii. ver. 0, 10. + Mneid. lib. vii. ver. 646. 

OF GLORT# 819 

whose commentaries will not last above three days, 
and never come to the sight of any reader. We have 
not the thousandth part of the ancient writings ; it 
is Fortune that gives them a shorter or longer life, 
according to her favour ; and we may well doubt^ 
whether those we have be not the worst, having not 
seen the rest. Men do not write histories of things 
of so little moment : a man must have been general 
in the conquest of an empire, or a kingdom ; he 
must have won two and fifty set battles, and always 
the weakest in number of men, as Caesar did. Ten 
thousand brave fellows, and several great captains 
lost their lives, gallantly and courageously, m his 
service, whose names lasted no longer than their 
wives and children lived : 

Quosfama olsvra recondiL* 

Whom time has not deliver'd o'er to fame. 

Even of those we see behave the best ; three months, 
or three years after they have been knocked on the 
hea4, they are no more spoken of than if they had 
never been. 

Whoever will justly consider, what kind of men, what s^n 
and what sort of actions are recorded, with honour, ®Jj[*"^';t,,^ 
in history, will find, that there are few actions, andrememl 
very few persons, of our times, who can there JllhUh'^is'^ 
pretend any right. How many worthy men have we pres^rvod 
seen survive their own reputation, who have seen the*" ^'*'*'"' 
honour and glory, most justly acquired in their youth, 
extinguished in their own presence ? And for three 
years of this fantastic and imaginary existence, are 
we to go and throw away our true essential life, 
and engage ourselves to a perpetual death? Tlie 
sages propose to themselves a nobler and more just 
end to so important an enterprise. Rede factij fe- 
cisse tnerces est : officii J ruct us ^ ipsum qfficium est :t 
♦' The reward of a thing well done is to have done 
** it: the fruit of a good office is the office itself." 

♦ ^aeid. lib. v. ver. 302. f Senec. ep. 81. 


It were, perhaps, excusable in a painter, or any other 
artisan, or even in a rhetorician, or a grammarian, to 
endeavour to raise themselves a name by their works; 
but the actions of virtue are too noble in themselves 
to seek any other rewud than from their own value, 
and especially to seek it in the vanity of human judg- 
Why the If this felse opinion, nevertheless, be <^ that use 
proh^ion' to the public, as to keep men in their duty ; if the 
®jsj^^ people are thereby stirred up to virtue; if princes 
are touched to see the world bless the memory of 
Trs^an, and abominate that of Nero; if it moves 
them to see the name of that great beast, once so 
terrible and dreaded, so freely cursed and reviled l^ 
every school boy, let it, in the name of God, in- 
crease, and be, as much as possible, cherished among 
us. And Plato, bending his whole endeavour to 
make his citizens virtuous, also advises them, not to 
despise the good esteem of the people ; and says, 
^^ That it falls out, by a certain divine inspiration, 
^* that even the wicked themselves, oft-times, as well 
** by word as opinion, can nghtiy distinguish the 
^* virtuous from the wicked.** This person, and his 
tutor, are marvellous bold artificers, to add divine 
operations and revelations wherever humsm force is 
wanting : and, perhaps, for this reason it was, that 
Timon, railing at him, called him, ^ The great forger 
** of miracles.*^ Ut tragici poeta confugiunt ad 
deum^ cum explicare argumenti e^vitum mnpessunt :• 
** As tragic poets fly to some god, when they are 
*^ at a loss to wind up thdr piece/' Seeing that 
men, by their insufficiency, cannot pay themselves 
well enough with current money, let the counteiieit 
be superadded : it is a way that has been practised by 
all the legislators; and there is no government that 
has not some mixture, either of ceremonial vanity, 
or of fidse opinion, which serves for a curb to keep 
people in their duty : it is for this that most of then! 

^ Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. cap. 20. 


tiave thdr Bibulous originals and beginnings, and so 
enriched with supernatural mysteries : it is this' that 
lias given credit to false reKgions, and caused them 
to be countenanced by men of understanding ; and 
for this that Numa and Sertorius, to possess their 
men with a better opinion of them^ pretended, one^ 
that the nymph Egeria, the .other, that his white 
hind, brought them all their resolutions from the 
gods. . The authority that Numa gave to his laws, 
under the auction of this goddess's patronage, Zo- 
roaster, legislator of the Bactiians and Persians, gave 
to his, under the name of the god Oromazisj Tris- 
megistus, legislator of the Egyptians, under that of 
Mercury ; Zambooxis, legislator of the Scythians, 
under that of Vesta ; Charondas, legislator of the 
Chalcedonians, under that of Saturn ; Minos, legis- 
lator of the Cretans, under that of Jupiter ; Lycur- 
gus, legislator of the LacedaBmonians, under that of 
Apollo ; and Draco and Solon, legislators of the 
Athenians, under that of Minerva. And every go- 
vernment has a god at the head of it ; others falsely, 
that truly which Moses set over the Jews at their de^ 
parture out of Egyot. The religion of the Bedoins, as 
the Sieur de JoinviUe reports j* amongst other things, ; 
enjoined a belief " That the soul of him, amongst 
" them, who died for his prince, went into another 
** more happy body, more beautiful and more ro- 
** bust than the rormer;" by which means they 
touch more willingly ventured their lives : 

In femim mens prona viris^ antmceque capaces 
Mortis J et ignauum est rediturce parcere vite.f 

Eager for wounds^ with thirst oi death they burn. 
Lavish of life that happier will return. 

This is a very comfortable belief, however erroneous 
it is. tlverv nation has many such examples of its 
own : but liiis subject would require a treatise by it*- 

* In his Memoirs, chap. 57, p. 357, 358. f Luean. lib. L 7er. 461 « 


Tte differ. To add one word more to my former discourse, t 

t^een that v^ould advise the ladies no more to call that honour^ 

udi^ tenn^^^^ ^* ^^^ ^^^^^ duty, Ut efiim consuefudo loquitur f 

honour, id solum dicUur honestum^ quod est populari Jama 

Sfy?*'*^ jgloridsum ;* " According to the vulgar style, that 

<^ only is honourable, which has the public ap« 

" plauSe:" their duty is the grape, their honour 

but the outward husk. Neither would I advise them 

to give that excuse as payment for their denial s for 

I suppose, that their intentions, their desire, and 

will, which are things wherein their honour is not at 

all concerned, as nothing of it appears externally^ 

are much better regulated than the eflfects : 

QiicB qtua nan liceatj rumfacit, illafacit.^ 

She, who sins not, because 'tis against law, ~ 
Is chaste no farther than she's kept in awe. 

The offence both towards God, and in the con- 
science, would be as great to desire, as to do it : 
and, besides, they are actions so secret of themselves, 
as w^ould be very easily kept from the knowledge of 
others, wherein the honour consists ; if they h^ no 
other respect to their duty,, and to the affection they 
bear to chastity for its own sake : every woman of 
honour rather chooses to wound her honour, than 
her conscience. 


Of Presumption. 

1 HERE is another sort of glory, which is the hav- 
ing too good an opinion of our own merit. It is an 
inconsiderate affection, with which we flatter our- 
selves, and that represents us to ourselves otiier than 

• Cic. de Fin. lib. ii. cap. 15. f ^'^^ Ajnor. lib. iii. eL 4, rcr. 4| 

av presumptiok; $2$ 

vthsi we truly are : like the passion of love, that 
lends beauties and graces to the object of it ; and 
makes ttose who are caught with it, by a depraved 
and corrupt judgment, consider the thing they love 
Other and more perfect than it is* 

I would not, nevertheless, that a man, for fear of 
£iiling in this point, should mistake himself, or th^nk 
himself less than he is ; the judgment ought, in all 
things, to keep its prerogative : it is all the reason in 
the world he should discern, in himself, as well as in 
others, what truth sets before him ; if he be Caesar, The fear ef 
let him boldly think himself the greatest ca{Ml;ain in ^Sfy ^f 
the world. We are nothing but ceremony ; cere- p/«»nip- 
mony carries us away, and we leave the substance nottT^ie 
of things; we hold by the branches, and quit the""*®®"^ 
trunk. We have taught the ladies to blush, when S our-" **° 
they hear but that named, which they are not at allj^^jfjjjj®'' 
afraid to do: we dare not call our members by as from 
their right names, and yet are not afraid to em- ^JJ^Jf^ 
ploy them in all sorts of debauchery. Ceremony for* kn^wn. 
bids us to express, by words, things that are lawfid 
and natural, and we obey it : reason forbids us to do 
things unlawful and ill, and nobody obeys it. I find 
myself here fettered by the laws of ceremony ; for it 
neither permits a man to speak well of himself, nor 
ill. We will leave her tnere for this time. They 
whom fortune (call it good or ill) has made to pass 
their lives in some eminent degree, may, by their 
public actions, manifest what they are : but they 
whom she has only employed in the crowd, and of 
whom nobody will speak, if they do not speak for 
themselves, are to be excused, if'^they take courage 
to talk of themselves, to such who are concerned tk 
icaow them, by the example of Lucilius : 

Mle velutjidis arcana sodalihus olim 
Cr$debai libris, neque si maU cesseraty usquam 
De^urrens': alio ne^ si bene: quofituttrnm 
Fotivapateat veluti descripta tahdla 

Vita sems.* ; • 

•Mor. lib..ii. sat. 1, rer. SC^ tap 

92|f at PR£StTMPTIOH* 

lEiis secrets to his books he did counnend^ 
As free as to bis dearest bosom friend : 
Whether he wrote with, or against the grain^ 
The old man's life his verses Ab expldn. 

He committed to paper his actions and thoughts^ 

and there pourtr^yed himself such as he found him« 

self to be. Nee id Rutilio^ et Scauro citrajidem^ out 

ohtrectetionifuit : ** Nor were Rutilius or Scaunis 

** misbelieved or condemned for so doing.*' 

Mon- I remember then, that, from my infancy^ there 

^?ucuiar was obscrvcd in me I know not what kind of car* 

getture a riage and gesture that seemed to relish of foolish 

of^lJ siUy pride. I will say this, in the first place, that it is 

pride. jjQt unlikely, that there are qualities and propcnsi** 

ties so deeply implanted in us, that we have not the 

means to feel and know them : and of such natural 

inclinations the body is apt to retain a certain bent^ 

without our knowledge or consent. It was affecta^ 

tion that made Alexander carry his head on one side, 

and Alcibiades to lisp ; Julius Caesart scratched his 

head with one finger, which is the mark of a man 

possessed with uneasy thoughts ; and Cicero, as I 

remember, was wont to turn up his nose, a sign of 

a man given to scofiing : such motions as these may» 

imperceptibly, happen in us. There are other arti* 

ficial ones, which i meddle not with ; as salutations 

and congees, by which men, for the most part, un* 

justly acquire the reputation of being humble and 

courteous ; or, perhaps, humble out of pride. I 

am prodigal enough of my hat, especially in sum^^ 

mer, and never am so saluted, but I pay it again^ 

from persons of what quality soever, unless they be 

in my pay. I should be glad that some princes, 

whom I know, would be more sparing of that ceret 

mony, and bestow that courtesy where it is more 

due ; for, being so indiscreetly profuse of it, it is 

thrown away to no purpose, if it be without respect- 

* Tacit, in Vita Agricolap, cap. I. 
\ Plutarch, in the Life of Csesari cs^. I. 
12 . 


of persons : amongst irregular countenances, let us 
not forget that severe one of the emperor Constan- 
tiiis,* who always, in public, held his head upright 
and straight, without bending or turning it on either 
side, not so much as to look upon those who saluted 
him On one side, planting his body in a stiff immove- 
able posture, without suffering it to yield to the mo- 
tion of his coach ; not daring so much as to spit, 
blow his nose, or wipe his face before people, I 
know not whether the gestures that were observed in 
me, were of this first quality, and whether I had 
really any secret propensity to this vice, as it might 
well be ; and I cannot be responsible for the swing 
of the body. 

But as to the motions of the soul, I must here Presmnp. 
confess what I am sensible of. This vanity consists JJ,7n?J\*^'^ 
of two parts ; the setting too great a value upon parti, 
ourselves, and too little a value upon others. 

As to the one, methinks these considerations Montaiifne 
ought, in the first place, to be of some weight. IdSfJluar 
feel myself importuned by an error of the soul, that*>*»p«wo* 
displeases me, both as it is unjust, and the more,tisiS^ 
as it is troublesome : I attempt to correct it, but T 
cannot root it out ; which is that I lessen the just 
value of things that I possess, and over-value others, 
because they are foreign, absent, and none of mine. 
This humour spreads very far : as the prerogative of 
the authority makes husbands look upon their own 
wives with a vicious disdain, and many fathers their 
children, so do I : and, between two equal merits, 
I should always be swayed against my own : not so 
much that the jealousy of my preferment, and the 
bettering of my affairs troubles my judgment, and 
hinders me from satisfying myself, as because domi- 
nion, of itself, begets a contempt of what is our 
own, and over which we have an absolute command. 
Foreign governments, manners, and languages insi* 
nuate themselves into my esteem } and I am very 

-jf Aaimian. MarcelL lib. xxL cap. 14i* 


seBsible, that Latin allares me, by. its dignity, to 
value it above its due, as happens to children, and 
the common sort of people. The economy, house, 
and horse of my neighbour, though no better thaa 
my own, I prize above my own, because they are 
not mine : besides that, I am very ignorant in my 
' own affairs ; I admire the assurance that every one 
has of himself: whereas there is^ not, almost, any 
thing that I am sure I know, or that I dare be re^ 
^onsible to myself that I can dp : I have not my 
means of doing any thing stated and ready, and am 
only instructed after the effect, being as doubtful of 
my own force, as I am of another's ; whence it 
comes to pass, that, if I happen to do any thing 
commendable, I attribute it more to my fortune 
than industry ; forasmuch as I design ever^ thing by 
chance, and in fear. I have tliis also in general, 
that, of all the opinions antiquity has held of men 
in gross, I most willingly embrace, and most adhere 
to those that most contemn, vilify, and annihilate 
us. Methinks philosophy has never so fair a game 
to play, as when it falls upon our vanity and pre-i 
sumtption; when it discovers man's irresolution, 
weakness, and ignorance. I look upon the too good 
opinion, that man has of himself, to be the nursing 
mother of the falsest opinions, both public and pri- 
vate. Those people who ride astride upon the epi- 
cycle of Mercury, who see so far into the heavens, 
are worse to me than pickpockets : for, in my study, 
the subject of which is man, finding so great a va^ 
riety of judgments, so profound a labyrinth of diffi- 
culties one upon another ; so great a diversity and 
uncertainty, even in the 9chool of wisdom itself; 
you may judge, seeing those needle could not b6 
certain of the knowledge of themselves, and tJieir 
own condition, which is continually before their 
eyes, and within them; seeing they do not know 
how that moves wfaidi they themselves move, nor 
how to give us a description of the springs they 
themselves govern »nd make use of; how can I b«^ 


lieve them about the ebbing and flowing of the 
Nile? " The curiosity of knowing things has. been 
** giveq to man for a scourge," says the holy scrip- 
ture. But, to return to what concerns myself, I 
think it very hard, that any other should have a 
meaner opinion of himself; nay, that any other 
should have a meaner opinion of me, than I have of 
myself I look upon myself as one of the common 
sort, saving in what I am obliged for to myself; 
guilty of the meanest and most popular defects, but 
jioi aisowned or excused ; and do not value myself 
upon any other account, than because I know my 
own value. 

If I have any vanity, it is superficially infused into MontaigM 
me by the treachery of my constitution, and has no^,^^^^ 
body that my judgment can discern. I am sprin- with us 
Idea, but not died : for, in truth, as to the produc- fn^^'^a 
tions of the mind, no part of them, be it what it «p«:5aiiy 
wiU, ever satisfied me, and the approbation of others ^|^yj. 
is no coin for me ; my judgment is tender and nice, 
especially in my own concern ; I feel myself float 
and waver by reason of my weakness. I have no- 
thing of my own that satisfies my judgment : my 
sight is clesur and regular enough, but, in opening it, 
it is apt to dazzle, as I most manifestly find in 
poesy : I love it infinitelv, and am able to give a to- 
lerable judgment of other men's works : but, in 
good earnest, when I apply myself to it, it is so 
puerile, that I cannot endure myself A man 
may play the fool in every thing else, but not ixi 
poetry : 

— •^— Mediocribus esse poetis j 

Non homines, non dii, non concessere columfus.^ \ 

Nor ineiiy nor gods, nor pillscrs ever deem 
Indifferent poets worthy of esteem. 

I would to God this sentence was writ over the 
doors of all our printers, to forbid the entrance of 
so many rhymers : 

• HoraU de Art, Poet. rer. 372, 575. 



Nihil sectirius est malo poeia.* 

- — = But the truth is, and all the critics show it^ 
None's moi^e conceited than a sorry poet. 

Thf public ' Have not we such people ? Dionysius, the fatherji 
^"hi.^hthc valued himself so much upon nothing as his poetry. 
people^ At the Olympic gam^s, with chariots surpassing all 
D^.iu'^siua's ptherg in in?ignificence, he sent also poets and musi- 
whi! w'J** cians to present his verses, with tents and pavilions 
th*- t^nwt royally gilt, arid hung with tapestry. When hisf 
of Sicily, yerses came to be recited, the grace and excellency 
of the pronunciation, at first, attracted the atten- 
tion of the people ; but when they, afterwards, 
came to reflect on the meanness of the composition, 
they disdained it, an4 their judgments, being more 
and mor^ nettled, presently proceeded to fury, and 
Tan to pull down, and tear all his pavilions to 
pieces. And forasmuch as his chariots never per- 
Formed any thing to purpose in the race,t and as the 
ship, which brought back his people, failed of mak- 
ing Sicily, ^nd was, by the tempest, driven and 
wrecked upon the coast of Tareptum, they did cerr 
tainly believe the gods were incensed, as they them- 
selves were, against that paltry poem : and even 
the mariners, who escaped from the wreck, second- 
ed this opinion of the jpepple ; to which the oracle 
that foretold his death, also seemed, in some mea- 
sure, to subscribe ; which >vas, *' That Dionysiust 
*' should be near his end, when he should have 
•' overcome those who were better than himself" 
This he interpreted of the Carthaginians, who sur- 
passed hira in power ; and, having war with them, 
often declined and moderated victory, lest he should 
incur the sense of this prediction : but he misunder-. 
stood it ; for the god pointed at the time of the ad^- 
vantiage, that, by favour and injustice, he obtained 

* Mart, lib. xii. epig. 64. 

f Diodoriis of Sicily, lib. xiv. cap^ 284 

% Id. ibid. lib. xv. cap. 20, ' 


at Athens, over the tragic poets, better than him- 
fcelf, having caused liis own play, called the Leneians, 
to be acted in emulation ; presently after this victory 
he died, an4 partly of the excessive joy he conceived 
at the success of it. WTi^t I find tolerable of mine, 
is not so really, and in itself; but in comparison of 
other worse things, that, I see, ^re well enough re- 
ceived : I envy the happiness of those that can 
please and hug themselves in what they do, for it 
is a very easy thing to be so pleased, because a man 
extracts that pleasure from himself, especially if he 
be constant in his self-conceit. I know a poet, 
against whom both the intelligent in poetry, and the 
ignorant, abroad and at home, both heaven and 
earth, exclaim, that he has no notion of it ; and 
vet, for all that, he has never a whit the worse opi* 
nion of himself, but is always falling upon some new 
piece, always contriving some new invention, and 
still persists, with so much the more obstinacy, as it 
only concerns himself to stand up in his own de- 

My works are so for from pleasing me, that as oft^"^*"*- 

T • xU j,u Ji' J, t»«n Moo* 

fis I review them, they disgust me : taii^ne had 

of his ow« 

Cum relego^ scripsisse ptdety quia plurima cemo, woijti. 

JHfe quoque quijeci^ judice digna linij^ 

When I peruse, I blush at what I've writ. 
And think 'tis only for the fire fit, 

I have always an idea, in my mind, of a better form 
than that I have made use of, but I cannot catch it, 
nor fit it to my purpose ; yet even that idea is but of 
the middle class ; by which I conclude that the pro- 
ductions of those rich and great geniuses, of former 
times, are very much beyond the utmost strength 
of my imagination, or my wish. Their writings not 
only satisfy, but astonish and ravish me with admira^ 
tion : I judge of their beauty, I see it, if not to per- . 
Action, yet so far, at least, as it is possible for jpae 

* Ovid, de Ponto, lib. i, ele^. 6, vet, 15, 16^ 


to aspire to. Whatever I undertake, I owe a S9Cil^ 
fice to the Graces, as Plutarch says of some one, to 
cultivate their favour : 

——.I ...^ Si quid enim placet, 

St quid duke kominum sensihus inftuii, 
Deuentur lepidis omnia Gratiis. 

If aught can ever please that I inditej 
If to men's minds it ministerB delight. 
Ail's to the lovely Giaces due. 

They abandon me throughout : all I write is rude^ 
mid wants polishing and beauty : I cannot set things 
off to the best advantage, my nandling adds nothing 
to the matter \ for which reason I must have a sub« 
ject forcible, very copious, and that has a lustre of 
its own. If I pitch upon subjects that are popular 
and gay, it is to follow my own inclination, who do 
not aftect a grave and ceremonious wisdom, as the 
ii«n-^ world does ; and to make myself, not my style, more 
Sk.*' sprightly, which requires them rather grave and se- 
vere, at least, if I may call that a style which is 
rough and irregular phraseology, a vulgar jargon, 
and a proceeding without definition, division, or 
conclusion, and perplexed, like that of Amafanius 
and Rabirius.* I can neither please nor delight, 
much less ravish : the best story m the world is tar- 
nished by my handling, I cannot speak but in ear- 
nest, and am totally unprovided of that facility, 
which I observe in many of my acquaintance, of en- 
tertaining the first comers, and Keeping a whole 
company in breath, or amusing the ears of a prince^ 
with all sorts of discourse, without being weary ; 
they never wanting matter, by reason of the faculty 
and ^ace they haye in taking hold of the first thing 
that is started, and accommodating it to the humour 
and capacity of those with whom they have to do. 
Princes do not much affect solid discourses, nor I to 
tell stories. The firstand easiest reasons, which arei 

* Cic Aca4 Quaest Ub* L c^*ft 


eommonly tbe most liked, I know not hew to em« 
ploy : I am a bad orator to the common sort : I am 
apt, of every thing, to say the utmost that I know. 
Cicero is of opinion, " That,* in treatises of philo- 
^* sophy, the exordium is the hardest part ;'* whicl^ 
if it be true, I am wise in sticking to the conclusion ; 
3,nd yet we are to know how to wind the string to 
idl notes, and the sharpest is that which is the most 
seldom touched ; there is, at least, as much perfect 
tion in elevating an empty, as in supporting a 
weighty thiqg: a man must sometimes supei-ficially 
handle things, and sometimes sift them to the bot^ 
torn : I know, very well, that most men keep them-- 
selves in this lower form, for not conceiving others 
wise than by this surface j but I likewise know, that 
the greatest masters, and Xenophon and Plato, often 
condescend to this low and popular manner of speaks 
ing and treating of things, and yet maintaining them 
^ith graces, which are never wanting to them. 

As to the rest, my language has nothing in it tliat 
is easy and fluent j it is rough, free, and in-egular; 
and therefore best pleases my inclination, if not my 
judgment : but I very well perceive, that I some- 
times give myself too much rein ; and that, by en- 
deavouring to avoid art and affectation, I fall into 
it frqm smother quarter : 

Ohscums Jio,\^ 

Brevis esse hbaroy 

StriviDg to be concise, I prove obscure. 

Plato says, ** That neither the long nor the short 
** are properties that ever take away or give worth 
^ to language." Should I attempt to follow the 
Other more even, smooth, and regulated style, I 

* Montaigne only quotes this sentiment to ridicule Cicero, whom 
be treats rather as a fine orator than an acute philosopher, in which 
he was not much in the wrone ; for whoever nicely examines Ci- 
cero's philosophical works, will easily see, that they are only the 
sentiments of Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Zeno, &c. elegantly and 
politely translated into Latin. 

f Jiarat. Art; Poet, ver, 25, 26. 


should never attain to it ; and, though the short 
round periods and cadences of Sallust best suit with 
iny humour, yet I find Caesar greater and harder to 
imitate 5 and though my inclination would rather 

frompt me to imitate Seneca*s way of writing, yet 
nevertheless more esteem that of Plutarch* Both 
in silence and speaking, I simply follow my own na- 
tural way ; from whence, perhaps, it falls out that I 
am better at speaking than writing. Motion and 
action animate words, especially in those who lay 
about them briskly, as I do, and grow hat. The 
comportment, the countenance, the voice, the robe, 
and the tribunal, may set off some things that of 
themselves would appear no better than prating. — 
Messala complains, m Tacitus,* of the " Straight- 
•* ness of some garments in his time, and of the 
" form of the rostra where the orators were to de-^ 
^^ claim, which weakened their eloquence." 
Wi Prench My French tongue is corrupted, both in pronun- 
the dhiie*!:^ ciatiou and language, by the barbarism of my coum 
of hit na- try J I never saw a man who was a native of any of 
Hvccoun. the provinces on this side of the kingdom, who had 
not the bix)gue of his place of birth, and which was 
not offensive to ears that were purely French ; yet 
it is not that I am so perfect in my Perigordin ; for 
I am no more conversant in it than High Dutch, 
nor do I much care. 
The tan- It is a language, like the rest about me on evcrjr 
fhat*^coufl- ®^^^> those of Poitou, Xaintonge, Angoulesme, Li- 
try. movsin, and Auvergne, a mixed, drawling, dirty lan- 
The^a<>roD IJicrc is, indeed, above us, towards themouttp^ 
lao^uage. ^aius, a sort of Gascon spoke that I am mightily 
taken with, which is dry, concise, significant, andf, 
in truth, a more manly and military language than 
any other 1 am acquainted with ; as nervous, potent, 
and pertinent, as the French is graceful, delicate, 
and copious. 

* Id his dialogue, ** De Causis corraptae Eloqueptia,*' sub fiaeixu 


As to the Latin, which was given me for my mo- with what 
ther-tongue, I have, by disuse, lost the faculty of f^„^J^ ^^ 
speaking it^ and indeed of writing it too, wherein I Latin, 
iormei ly excelled ; by which you may see how in- 
considerable 1 am on that side. 

Beauty is a thing of great esteem in the corre- The advan* 
spondence amongst men J it is the principal means J^'^J^y^f* 
of acquiring the favour and good-liking of one ano- the bodjr. 
ther, and no man is so bavbarpus and morose that 
does not perceive himself, in some sort, struck 
with its comeliness. The body has a great share in 
our being, has an eminent place there, and there** 
fore its structure and composition are of very just 
consideration. They who go about to disunite and 
separate our two principal parts from one another, 
are to blame ; we must, on the contrary, unite and 
r^oin them. We must command the soul not to 
withdraw to entertain itself apart, not to despise 
and abandon the body (neither can she do it, but by 
some ridiculous counterfeit); but to unite herself 
close to it, to embrace, cherish, assist, govern, and 
advise it, and to bring it back, and set it into thp 
true way when it wanders ; in sum, to espouse and 
be a husband to it, forasmuch as their effects do not 
appear to be diverse and contrary, but uniform and 
concurring. Christians have a particular instruction 
concerning this connection, for they know, that the 
divine justice embraces this society and conjunction 
of body and soul, even to the making the body ca- 
pable of eternal rewards, and that God has an eye 
to every man's ways, and will have him to receive 
entire die chastisement or reward of his actions.— r 
The sect of the Peripatetics, of all others the most 
sociable, attributes to wisdom this sole care, equally 
to provide for and procure the good of these two 
associate parts } and the other sects, in not suffi- 
ciently applying themselves to the consideration of 
this union, show themselves to be partial, one for 
the body and the other for the soul^ with equal er« 

834 OF PRESUMP*tOrf< 

tor ; and to have lost their subject, which is Man j 
and their guide, which they generally confess to-be 
Nature. The first distinction that ever w^ amongst 
men, and the first consideration that gave some pre- 
eminence over others, it is likely, was the advantage 
^ of beauty: 

■ Agros diviscre, ttique dedere 

Pro/acid ciijtisquey et virilms, ivgenioque : 
Nam fades midtmn validly viresque vigebanL* 

' Then steady bounds 

Mark'd out to ev'ry man his private grounds ; 
£ach had his proper share, each one was fit. 
According to bis beauty, strength, or wit ; 
For beauty then and strength had most command. 

^•^ ^ Now I am something lower than the middle stature ; 

2Sre,W * defect that is not only disagreeable, but inconve- 
nient, especially to those who are in office and com- 
mand, for want of the authority derived from a 
gracefiil presence and a majestic stature. C. Marius 
did not, willingly, list any soldiers under six feet 
high. The courtier has, indeed, reason to desire k 
common stature in the person he is to make, rather 
than any other, and to reject all strangeness that 
should make him be pointed at ; but, in choosing, if 
it be necessary, in this mediocrity, to have him ra- 
ther below than above the common standard, I would 
not have a soldier to be so. " Little men,'* says 
Aristotle, " are very pretty, but not handsome; 
** the greatness of soul is discovered in ^ great 
•* body, as beauty is in a large tall one. Tlie Ethi- 
" opians and Indians,*' says he, " in choosing their 
** kmgs and magistrates, had a special regard to the 
*^ beauty and stature of their persons." They had 
reason, for it creates respect in those that follow 
them ; and to see a leader of a brave and godly sta- 
ture march at the head of a battalion strikes 9 terror 
into the enemy : 

^ I-uaet lib. T. Tcr. 1109, 


tbse mier prmos prasianii corpore TumuSf 
rertihar, wrma terifins, et toto vertice supra esl.^ 

The graceful Turaus, tallest by the head, 
Shaking his arms, himself the warriors led. 

Our holy and heavenly King, of whom every cir- 
cumstance is most caremlly/and with the greatest 
religion and reverence, to be observed, has not him- 
self refused bodily recommendation, Speciosusjforma 
pnejiliis hominum : " He is fairer than the children 
** of men.*'t And Plato, with temperance and forti- 
tude, requires beauty in the conservators of his Re- 
public. It would vex you, that a manlshould apply 
nimself to you, amongst your servants, to inquire 
where Monsieur is, and that you should only have 
the remainder of the compliment of the hat that is 
made to your barber or your secretary ; as it hap- 
pened to poor Philopcemen, who arriving the first of 
all his company at an inn where he was expected, 
the hostess, wno knew him not, and saw him a 
mean-looking man,! employed him to help her maids 
to draw a little water, or make a fire against Philo- 
pcemen's coming: the gentlemen o!f his train ar- 
riving presently after, and surprised to see him busy 
in this fine emplojfment (for he failed not to do as 
he had been bid) asked him, " What he was doing 
** there ?** " I am,** said he, " paying the penalty of 
•* my ugliness." The other beauties belong to the 
women, but the beauty of stature is the only beauty 
of the men. Where there is a lowness of stature, 
neither the largeness and roundness of the forehead, 
nor fair lovely eyes, nor the moderate size of the 
nose, nor the littleness of the «ars and mouth, nor 
the evenness and whiteness of the teeth, nor the 
thickness of a well-set brown beard, shining Jike the 
husk of a chesnut, nor curled hair, nor the just pro- 
portion of the head, nor a jGresh complexion, nor a 

♦ ViTtt. ^neid, Vb. vIL ver. 78S, Ac. 

+ Psfd. xlv. ver. !2. . 

i In tb« Life gf l^hilpp«ineD, by Pktarch, chtp. 1. 


pleasing air. of the face, not a body without ihy o^^ 

tensive scent, nor the jast proportion ef limbs, cart 

^make a handsome iaaii. 
¥hc aui I am, as to the rest, strong and well knit j my 
Ihape, air, f^cc is not puffcd, but full ; my complexion between 
^c. ' jovial and melancholic, moderately sanguine an4 

hot I 

Unde rigeht setts mihi crurOy et pectora viUisi* 

Whence 'tis my thighs so rough and bristled are. 
And that iny breast is so thick-set with hair. 

My health vigorous and sprightly, even to a well ad- 
vanced age, and rarely troubled with sickness.—* 
Such I was, I say, fur I do riot make any reckoning 
. of myself now that I am engaged in the avenues of 
old age, being already past forty ; 

— : — Mifiuiatim vires^ et rolnir adulttmi 
Frangity et in partem pejorem liqultur (Btas.\ 

Thence, by degrees, our strength melts all away. 
And treacherous age creeps on, and things decay. 

What I shall be from this time forward will be 
but a half being, and no more me ; I every day 
escape and steal away from myself: 

Singula de nobis anni ftrcedantUr euntes^f 
Every year steals something from us. 

iioDfaigne Agility and address I never had, and yet am thfe 
SthMlmJ, son of a very active and sprightly father, who coil- 
•ud, ioge-tinued to be so to an extreme old age; I have sel- 
ward**yct"dom known any man of his condition his equal in 
lull of ▼!- jjIi bodily exercises ; as I have seldom met with any 

goiir, and » i "^ , %i , . . \ 

could take who havc uot excelled me, except m runnmg, at 

h^*hlid''i^" which I was pretty good* In music or singing, for 

ttiudto it. which I have a very unfit voice, or to play on any 

sort of instrument j they could never teach me any 

thing. In dancing, tennis, or wrestling, I could 

never arrive to more than an ordinary pitch ; in 

* * Mart lib. ii. ep. 36, ver. 5. f Lucret lib. iL ver* IIM, 
X Hor. lib. ii. ep. 2, ver. OS. 


swimming, fencing, vaulting, and leaping, to none 
at all. My hands are so benumbed that 1 can only 
write BO as to read it myself} so that I had rather 
mend what I have scribbled, than to take the trouble 
to write it over fair $ and I do not read much better 
than I write. I cannot handsomely fold up a letter, 
Aor could ever make a pen, or carve at table, nor 
saddle a horse, nor carry a hawk and flv her, nor 
call the dogs, nor speak to birds, nor horses. In 
fine, my bodily quahties are very well suited to those 
of my soul ; there is nothing sprightly, only a full 
and firm vigour: I am patient enough of labour 
and pains, provided I go voluntarily to the work, 
and only so long as my own desire prompts me* 
to it: 

MoUiter austerum studio faille IdboremJ^ 
Whilst the delight makes jou ne'er mind the peia. 

Otherwise, if I am not allured with some pleasure, 
or have any other guide than my own pure and free 
inclination, I am therein good for nothing ; for I 
am of a humour that, life and health excepted, 
there is nothing for which I will beat my brains, 
and that I will purchase at the price of vexation and 
constraint : 

Tanti mihi non sUopaci 

Omnis arena Tagi^ quodque in mare volvitur aurwn.f 

Rich Tagus' sands so dear I would not buy, 
Nor all Uie riches in the sea that lie. 

Seing extremely idle, and quite unrestrained both 
by nature and art, I would as willingly lend a maa 
my Mood ^ my pains. I have a soul free and en^ 
tirely its own, and accustomed to guide itself after 
its own fashion ; and having hitherto never had 
either master or governor set over me, I have walked 
as far as I would, and the pace that best pleased 

* Hon lib. ii. sal. 9, 5F«r. 12. f J^^* ^^ ^* ^^^ * ^» ^^* 



myself; this is it that has rendered me effei^inate, 

and of no use to any but myself. 

He was And, foF my part, there was no need of forcing 

wuh^hif* my heavy and lazy disposition j for being bom to 

coBditioo. such a fortune as I had reason to be contented with 

(a reason, nevertheless, which a thousand others of 

my acquaintance would have rather made use of for a 

plank upon which to pass over to a higher fortune, 

to tumult and disquiet), I sought for no more, and 

also got no more : 

Non agimur tumidis ventisj AfpiiUme secukdOf 
Nm iamen adversis cBtatem dudmUs Austris : 
VnibuSi mgenioy spede, virtiUCf locOf re, 
Extremi primorumf extremis usque pirkres.* 

I am not wafted by the swelling gales 
Of winds propitious, with expanded sails ; 
Nor yet expos'd to tempest heanng strife. 
Adrift to struggle through the ways of life ; 
For health, wit^ virtue, honour, wealth, I'm cast 
Behind the foremost, but before the last. 

I wanted but a competency to content me ; which, 
i^everthdess, is a government of soul, to take it 
right, equally difficult in all sorts of conditions, and 
which, by custom, we see more easily found in want 
than abundance ; forasmuch, perhaps, as, according 
to the course of our other passions, the desire of 
riches is more sharpened by the use we make of 
them, than by the need we have of them, and the 
virtue of moderation more rare than that of patience. 
I never had any thing to desire, but quietly to enjoy 
the estate that God, by his bounty, had put into 
my hands ; I have never known any work that was 
troublesome, and have had little to manage besides 
my own affairs ; or, if I have, it has been upon con- 
dition to manage them at my ovm leisure, and after 
my own method, they having been committed to 
my trust by such as had a confidence in me, thait did 

* Hon lib. iL ep. 2, vcr. 201. 


not iin|>ortune me, and that knew me weU; for 
men of experience will get service out of a resty 
and broken-winded horse. 

I was trained up from a child after a gentle and ^« was da. 
free manner, and, even then, exempt from any ri-|JISeM*d* 
gorous subjection ; all this has helped me to a com- *B<ioi<n^ 
plexion deHcate and careless, even to such a d^ree 
that I love to have my losses, and the disorders 
wherein I am concerned, concealed from me; in 
the account of my expenses I put down what my 
negligence costs me to feed and maintain it : 

HcBC nempe supersunt^ 

Qiue domimim falltmt, qiue prt^nt foribus* 

Where no superfluous wealth unknown 

To its rich lord,t that thieves may make their own. 

I do not care to know what I have, that I may be 
less sensible of my loss ; I intreat those that live 
with me, where aroction and good deeds are wiont-^ 
ing, to deceive me, and put me off with something 
that may look tolerably well. For want of resolution 
enough to support tne shock of the adverse acci- 
dents to which we are subject ; and seriously apply- 
ing myself to the management of my afiairs, i in- 
dulge this opinion as much as I can, wholly leaving 
it a& to fortune ; to take all things at the worst, and 
to resolve to bear that worst with meekness and pa^ 
tience ; that is the only thing I aim at, and to which 
I apply my whole meditation ; in danger, I do not 
so much consider how I shall escape it, as of how 
little importance it is whether I escape it or no ; 
should Ibe left dead upon the place, what matter i 
Not being to govern events I govern myself, an4 
apply myself to them, if they do not apply th^iQ- 
Bclves to me. I have qo great art to turn off, escape 
from, or to fbrce^ fortune, and wisely to guide and 

• Hot. Ub, i. ep. 6, ver, 45. 

f Here Montaigne divarU Horace's words from thtfir true sensc^ 
to adapt tbem to liusowtt. thought.. 



incline things to my o^m bias ; I have yet less ptu 
tience to undergo tiie troublesome and painftd cam 
therein required; and the most uneasj condition 
forme is to be k^t in tospense on urgent occasions, 
and to be agitated between hope ai^d fear. 
He wtian DeUbclratroil, even in things of lightest moment^ 
?di^ is very titmble^me to me ; aild I Sxti hi^ miikd 
^•"- mote put to it, to undergo the various tumfaung and 
tossing of doubt and consultation, than to set up 
its Ttstj and to acquiesce in whatever shall happeA 
s^er the die is thrown. Few passions break my 
sleep ; but, of deliberations, the least disturbs me. 
As, in the roads, I willingly avoid those that are 
sloping and slippery, and put myself into the beaten 
track, how djrtv or deep socvever, where 1 can fell 
no lower, and there seek my safety ; so I love mis- 
fiAiimes dnit are purely so, such as do not tdMienlt 
flmd teaze me with the uncertainty of their growiUj^ 
better ; but» at the first push, pfunge nf^ dir^tly 
into the worst that can be expected : 

Dubia plus iorquent mala? 
Doubtful ills do plague us worst. 

In cfvents, I carry myself like a man, in the conduct 
of thebi lik^ a child ; the fear of the fall more 
bfaakes me ditfn the fell itself; it will not quit cost 
The covetous man fares worse with his ptasdon ihtA 
Iftie ipoor man, and the jeklous mah ^k^&i the cook- 
tild ; bnd a person ofl-times loses tiioi^ by defendm|p 
his vineyard than if he gave it up. The lowest 
walk is uie safest, it is fiie seat of constancy ; yo* 
bave liiere need of no one but yourseb^ it is thctfe 
finmdM, and wholly stasids upon its own basis.^^ 
H«s not <iiis example, df a gentfleman v^ weH 
known, some feiir of phik>sophy in^it ? He married^ 
being well advanced m years, having spent his ymitk 
in good-fellowship, a great talker, and a free joker j 
and calling to mind how much the ;6ul(jeci; of tkick* 

• Senec AguaeomoDi 'adt itt. irc.1| Ver. ». 

Of PitESniKPTIDll. 841 

oldom had given him occasion to talk of and banter 
others, in order to prevent them from paying him in 
][i]s own coin, he married a wife |rom ft p|ace wher^ 
any man may have flesh for his mpney : " Good- 
** morrow whore j ^ood-morrpw cuckold}" ftncj 
there was not any thing wherewith he mpre cow; 
monly and openly entertained those that came to see 
him, than with tnis 4esign of his, by which he stop^ 
ped the private muttering of mopk^rs, and blupted 
the edge of this reproach. 

As to ambition, which is neighbour, or rather Disgusted 
daughter, to presumption, fortune, to advance me, f/o^^ 
must have come and tftken me by the hand; for to cause of iti 
trouble myself for an uncertain hope, aqd to have J^**"^**- 
submitted myself to aU the difficulties that accom- 
pany those who endeavour to bring themselves into 
credit, in the beginning of their progress, is wh^t I 
never could have done : 

Spem preiio nf>^ pn^f^ 

I wi)l not purcbose hQpe with money. 

I apply myself to what I sec, and to what I have in 
my haqd, and scarce st^* out of my harbour : 

Alter remus aquasy alter iiJbi radat arenas.f 

Into the sea I plunge one 08;*, 
And with the other rake the shore* 

Besides a man rarely arrives to these advancements, 
but in first hazarding what he h^ of his o\yn ^ and 
i am of opinion, that if a msin have sufficient to 
maintain him in the condition wherein he was bpn^ 
and bred^ it is a great folly to hazard th^t upon the 
uncertainty of augmenting it. He to whpny fortupe 
has denied whereon to ^t his foot, ^nd a quiet api) 
composed establishmjent, is to be excused if he yeur 
tures what he has j because, happen wh^^ will; nei- 
cessity puts him upon shifting for himself : 

* Terent. Adelph. act ii. sc. 3, ver. II. 
t Pi3ap»13>.iii.eL8, xer.2S. 


CJapienda rebus in nuiUs priBceps via esL* 
A despeiate case must have a desperate ooune. 

I rather excuse a younger brother to expose what 
his friends have left him to the courtesy of fortune, 
than him with whom the honour of nis family is 
entrusted, who cannot be necessitous but by his 
own fault. I found a much shorter and more easy 
way, by the advice of the good friends I had in my 
younger days, to free myself from any such ambi« 
tioii, and to sit still : 

CtdJU conditio dulds, sine pulvere palnue.\ 

Too bappy in his country seat, 

To gain the palm with dust and sweat. 

Judging also rightly enough of my own abilities, 
that they were not capable of any great matters, 
and calling to mind the saying of the late chancellor 
Olivier, " That the French were like monkies, that 
** climb up a tree from branch to branch, and never 
*^ stop till they come to the highest, and there show 
•* their breech." 

Tuife est quod nequeas capiti committere pondus, 

Et pressum infUxo mox dare terga genu.t 
It is a shame to load the shoulders so, 
That they the burden cannot undergo ; 
And, the knees bending with the weight, to quit 
The pond'rous load, and turn the back to it. 

The Rge In I should find the best qualities I have useless in 
MonuiKne ^^^^ ^^^^ i ^7 ^^7 bchaviour would have been 
was born Called weakucss and negligence ; my feith and con- 
^tIImI science, scrupulosity and superstition; my liberty 
JO hw hu- and freedom would have been reputed troublesome, 
inconsiderate, and rash: " 111 luck is good for 
** something." It is good to be bom in a very de* 
praved age j for so, in comparison of others, you 

* Senec. Agamem. act ii, ver. 47- 
. f Herat, lib. L epist. 1, ver. 51. 
i Propert. lib. ilL el. 9, ver. 5, 6. 


shall be reputed virtuous very cheap. He that, in 
our days, is a parricide and a sacrilegious person, is 
an honest man, and a man of honour : 

Nunc si depositum turn infidatur amicus^ 
Si reddat veterem cum tota tsrugifiefollem, 
Prodigiosa^fides, et Tuscis digna lihellisy 
QuiBque coronata lustrari del^ agna.* 

Now if a friend infringes not his trust, 
But th^ old purse restores with all its rust ; 
'Tis a prodigious faith, that ought, in gold. 
Amongst the Tuscan annals be enroU'd ; 
And a crown'd lamb should on tlie altar bleed. 
In honour of the meritorious deed. 

Nev^ was there a time or place wherein princes 
might expect more certain or greater rewards for 
their virtue and justice. The first that shall make it 
his business to get himself into favour and esteem 
by those ways, I am much deceived if he do not 
fairly get the start of his companions. Force and 
violence can do some things, but not all ; we see 
merchants, country justices, and artisans, go cheek 
by jowl with the best gentry in valour and military 
knowledge ; they perform honourable actions, both 
public and private; they fight duels, and defend 
towns in our present wars. A prince stifles his re- 
nown in this crowd ; let him shine bright in huma- 
nity, truth, loyalty, temperance, and especially in 
justice ; characters rare and almost unknown ; it is 
by the sole good-will of the people that he can do 
his business, and no other q^ualities can attract their 
good-will like those, as bemg of greatest utiUty to 
them. Nil est tarn populare quam bordtas ;t ^ rfo- 
** thing is so popular as goodness." By this propor- 
tion I had been great and rare, as I find myself now 
a pigmy, and vulgar in proportion to some past 
ages ; wherein, if other better qualities did not con- 
cur, it was common to see a man moderate in his 

* Juv. sat. xiii. ▼er.609 &c. 

f Cicero pro I^gario, cap. 12. ^ 


revoiges, gentle iti resentii^ injuriei, true to hit 

word, neither double nor su{>pk, nor accominoda(> 

ing his faith to the will of otikers, and the turns of 

times : I would rather see all affairs go to wreck and 

ruin than falsiAr my faith to secure them. 

nissimnia- For as to this virtue c£ hypocrisy and dissimula^ 

omou" *^^^' which is now in so great request, I mortally 

vice,^whichhate it ; and of all vioes &ad none ths^ show sucn 

J^j^j"*?!*^",^ baseness and meanness of spirit ; it is a cowardly 

utmost ab-and scrvilc humour for a man to hide and disguise 

horreoce. j^j^jg^if under a vizor, and not dare to show himself 

what he is. By this our followers are trained up to 

treachery ; being brought up to speak what is not 

true, they mdke no conscience of a lie ; a generoos 

heart ought not to give the lie to its own thoughts, 

but will make itself seen within, where all is good^ 

or, at least, humane. Aristotle reputes it ** The 

** oSice of magnanimity openly and professedly to 

** love and hate, to judge and speak witfi all firee- 

" dom ; and not to value the approbation or dislike 

•* of others, at the expense <a truth.'* Apc^lo- 

niufi isatd, '^ It was for suaves to lie, and for freemen 

*' to speak truth.^' It is the chief and fundamental 

part of virtue ; we must love it for its ow?i sake ; he 

that speaks the tmth, because he is otherwise ob^eA 

BO to do, and because he serves, and that is not 

^raid to lie, when it signifies nothing to a«y body. 

Lying con- is uot Sufficiently true. My soul naturally abomi- 

demoetu ^latfes lying, and hates the veiy thought of it ; I 

have an inward baehfulness, and a 6mart remorse, if 

lever a lie ^escapes me, as sometimes it does, being 

Burprised and hurried by occasions that aUow me no 

premeditation. A man must oiot always tell all, for 

that were folly; but what a man says should be 

what he thinks, otherwise it is knavery ; I do net 

know what advantage men pretend to by eternafiy 

counferfeiting and dissembling, if not never 4o be 

believed, even when they speak the truth. This 

may, once or twice, pass upoh men ; but to profess 

concealing their thoughts, and to boast, as some of 


or nxsuMPTiow* MS 

oar princes have done, ^^ That tb^ would bum 
<< their diirts if they Imew their true inteatioiKS ;'' 
which was a saying of the ancient Metellw of Ma* 
cedon ; and, ^ That he who knows not how to (^ 
^* semble knows not how to rule/' Thi9 is giving 
warning to all who have any thiag to do with tbem* 
that alfthey say is nothing but Ijring and decdt/-^ 
Quo quis wrsutior, et caUuRor est^ hoc iwomor et 
ewpeetior^ detracta opimone probkatU :^ ^^ The wort 
^ subde and cunning any one is^ the more is he 
^^ hated and suspected, the opinion 0i his integrity 
^ beitig lo0t and gone." It were a great simplicity 
to any one to lay any stress either on die counter 
nance or word of a man diat has put on a resolution 
to be always another thing wiliiout than he is ifitibifh 
as Tiberius did ; and I cannot conceive what mte^ 
rest such can have in die conversation witb mm^ 
sedng they produce nothing that is admitted S^ 
troth i whoever is dislc^ral to truth is the same to 
fids^iood also* 

Those of our time who havie considenedf in the ^^ ^^^ 
estabUshment of tfie duty of a prince^ the wdb&re m\i\^!^^ 
his affiurs only, and luuee preferred ijiat to the eare v^^ ^* 
<£ his ftfftSi and conscience, might say something to kLaUry. 
a prince, wiiose affiurs fortune had put into such a 
posture, tliat he might for ever establish them by 
only <mce breaking his word ; but it will not go so^ 
^v ofi»n oome again to 4^e same majjcet^ diey * 
ma«:e more thfan one peace, and OQter into mow 
than one treaty in tb^ lives. Gain tempts tbem 
to the fmt breach of iaidi, and aimost always pire- 
flents itself, as to all other ill acts ; sacrileges, mur<- 
<l^s, rebeUions, Jteeasons, are undertaken for some 
kind of advantage ; >but iiiiA £rst gain has infinite 
misidiievous ooHsequenees, as it thsows the prioce out 
of all correspondence and negotiation, by the ex- 
ample ot inndelity. Solyman, o£ the Ottoman race, 
a race not very edlicitons of kecfn^g dieir promiaes 

« Cjc. fi9 OSc. lib, iL ear. 9. 


Dr artidesy when, in my infancy, he made a descent 
ivith His army at Otranto, bein^ infonned that MeN 
curino de (rratinare and the inhabitants of Castro 
were detained prisoners, after having surrendered 
the place, contrary to the articles of their capitula- 
tion with his forces, he sent an order to have them 
set at liberty, saying, ^^ That, having other great 
^^ enterprises in hand in those parts, this breach of 
^ fitith, though it carried a show of present utility, 
^ would, for the future, brin^ on him a disrepute 
^^ and diffidence of infinite prejudice.'* 
JJj^jP* Now, for my part, I had rather be troublesome 
open aod and indiscreet, than a flatterer and a dissembler : I 
fmuM. <5onfess, that there may be some mixture of pride 
and obstinacy, in keeping myself so resolute and 
open as I do, without any regard to others ; and, 
methinks, I am a little too free, where I ought least 
to be so ; and that I grow hot, if I meet not with 
respect : it may be also, that I suffer myself to fol- 
low the propensity of my own nature for want of 
art; when I bring the same liberty of speech and 
countenance to great persons, that I use at my own 
house, I am sensible now much it declines towards 
incivility and indiscretion: but, besides that I am 
so bred, I have not a wit supple enough to shift o^ 
from a sudden question, and to escape by some 
crafty avoidance ; nor to feign a truth, nor memory 
enough to retain it, so feigned; nor, truly, assur- 
ance enough to maintain it; and yet, weak as I 
am, I stand on terms : therefore it is that I resign 
myself to pure nature, always to speak as I think, 
both by complexion and design, leaving the event 
to fortune. Aristippus* was wont to sav, " That 
** the principal benent he had extracted nrom philo- 
^ sophy, was, that he spoke freely and openly to 

Memory is a fiiculty of wonderful use, and with- 
. out which the judgment very hardly performs its 

* Laertius, in the Life of Aristippuit, lib* ii« sect* 68, 


.office; for my part, I have none at all: what anyMenory 
one will propose to me, he must do it by parcels, J^^jJ^l 
for, to answer a speech consisting of several beads, innit, bm 
I am not able. I could not leoeiTe a commission, ^rg^ne't 
without entering it into a book } and when I have ^"J^ 
a speech of consequence to make, if it be long, I am on. 
reduced to the vde and miserable necessity of get-* 
ting, word for word, what I am to say, by heart; I 
should, otherwise, have neither method nor assur* 
ance, being in fear that my memory would play me 
a slippery trick : but this way is no less dimciut to 
me than the other : I must have three hours to learn 
three verses : And, besides, in a work of man's own, 
the liberty and authority of altering the order, of 
changing a word, incessantly varym^ the matter, 
makes it harder to retain in the autnor's memory. 
The more I mistrust it, the more confused it is ; it 
serves me best by chance ; I must negligently solicit 
it, for, if I strive for it, it is confoun&d : and, after 
it once begins to stagger, the more I sound it, the 
more it is perplexed and embarrassed ; it serves me 
at its own hour, not at mine. 

The same defect I find in my memory I perceive He warn 
also in several other parts. I cannot endure com- JrlJ'^ii^ 
mand, obligation, and constraint: that which I cahtionud^ 
otherwise naturally and easily do, if I impose it^'"" 
upon myself by an express and strict injunction, I 
cannot do it : even the members of my body, over 
which a man has a more particular freedom and juris- 
diction, sometimes refuse to obey me, if I enjoin 
them a necessary service at a certain hour: this 
compulsive and tyrannical appointment baffles them; 
they shrink up either through fear or spite, and are 

Being once in a place, where it is looked upon as 
the greatest rudeness imaginable not to pledge those 
that drink to you ; though I had there all the free- 
dom aUowed me, I tried to play the good-fellow, out 
of respect to the ladies that were there, according 
to the custom of the country; but there. was sport 






or nmtfKrrioK. 

enmi^ ; for thi» threatening aji4 pr^wmtiQp, ^^t I 
vaa to fopcn ^poB my9df> contrpuy to aqiy custQin 
9»d inclim»ti(>n, di4 $o stop my throat, that I pQuld 
QOt swallow one drop, and was depriyed of drinking 
80 much as at my qiaal : I found myself gorged, and 
my thirst quenched -by so much dnnk as I had swair 
lowed in im8gination» This effect is most manifest 
in sueb as have the most vehdm^ot and powerful 
imagination : but it is natural notwithstanding, and 
there is no one that does not, in some measure, find 
it. An offer waa made to an excellent archer, cour 
demned to die, to save his lift, if he would show 
9om» not^le proof of his art i but be refused to try, 
fearing lest th^ too great Gonteotion of his wiU 
phould make him shoot wide, and that, instead of 
saving his life, he should also lose the reputation 
he had got of being a good marksman. A man that 
thinks of something else, will not fail to take, over 
and over again, the same number and measure of 
steps, even to an in^h, in the place where he walks f 
but, if he makes it his business to measurne and ^unt 
them, he will find, that what he did by nature and 
accident, he cannot so e:xactlv do by design^ 

My library, which is of the best sort cf ooimtiy 
libraries, is situated in a comer of my house ; ^ 
any thing comes into my head, that I hav^e a mind 
to look for, or to write out, lest I should ferg^ it, 
in but going across the court, I am forced to comr 
mit it to the menoory of some other. If I venture, 
in speaking, to digress never so little fi^om my suhr 
ject, I am infiJlibly lost ; which is the reason, that* 
in discourse, I keep strictly close to my text. I am 
forced to call the men, that serve me, either by the 
names of their offices, or their country ; fyr their 
own ^ames are very hard for me to remember : I 
can tell, indeed, that a name has throe ayll^bles, 
diflt it has a har^h sound, and diat it begins or ends 
with such a letter ; but thaf s all ; and, if I should 
Jive long, I do not think but I should fergrt my 
own name, as some others hav^ done. Meis^a Cqcp 


Vinus Wfli two ycotrs \nthout any tmce of mctnory^^^ 
which is alio said of Geor^us Trs^euntius, For 
my own interest, I often tMnk what a kind of lift 
thdrs was, and whether, without this Ibcultjr^ I 
should have enough left to support me with anj 
manner of ease ) and prying narrowly into it, I fear 
that diis {)rivation, if absolute, destroys all the other 
functions of the soul : 

Ptenus rimarum sum, hoc atque iUac perfiuo.f 
Vm as a leaky vessel, that runs out every way. 

It has befallen me, more than once, to forget the 
word I had, three hours before, ^ven or recerved, 
igind the place where I had hid my purse, whatever 
Cicero is pleased to say to the contrary. I iim 
mighty apt to lose what I have a particular care to 
Wk safe up : Memoria certe fion fnodo philosophia/n^ 
9€d omnis vita nsumj (mnesfue artesj una maxifttt 
tontinet :% " The memory is lire receptacle Jiftd 
** sheath of all science )*^ and tlierefore mine being 
ko treacherous, if I know little, 1 cannot much com*, 
plain : I know, in general, the names of the arts, 
and of what they treat, but nothing more : I turn 
over books, I do not study them ; what I retain oT 
ttiem I do not know to be another's : it is this only 
of Which my judgment has made its advantage, the 
discourses and imaginations with which it has been 
possessed. The author, place, words, and othei^iieM. 
drcumstances, I immediately forget, and am so ex- ^'' "^ 
fcellent at forgetting, that I no less forget my own"*"^' 
writings and compositions than the rest. At every 
turn I quote myself, and am not aware of it ; and 
whoever should ask me, where I had the verses and 
examples that I have here huddled together, would 
ptizzle me to tell him, and yet I have not begged 

* P!in. Nat Hist 12b. Vii. tap. 4. 

f T^r^nt. i^uch. aO. i. sc. €» ^t. 85. 

i Cic. de Senect. ci^ 7. 


them but from &mou8 tod well-known authors, not 
satisiying myself that they were rich, if I, moreover, 
had them not from hands both rich and honourable, 
where authority and reason concurred together : it 
is no great wonder, if my book meets with the same 
fortune that other books do, and if my memory lose 
what I have writ as well as what I have read, and 
what I give as well as what I receive. 
The cha. Bcsides the defect of memory, I have others which 
rjcter of y^jy much Contribute to my ignorance ; I have a 
teigae'fge-slow and hcavy wit, the least cloud stops its pro« 
"""'• gress, so that, for example, I never proposed a rid* 
die to it, though ever so easy, that it coiud find out: 
tliere is not the least idle subtlety, that will not gra- 
vel me: in games where cunnme is required, as 
cards, chess, draughts, and the lile, I understand 
only the common tricks and' movements: I have a 
slow and perplexed apprehension, but what it once 
catches, it embraces, and holds thoroughly well, for 
tigfbt the time it retains it. My sight is perfectly clear, 
and discovers at a very great distance, but is soon 
weary ; which makes me that I cannot read long, 
but am forced to have one to read to me. The 
younger Flinv* can inform such as have not tried it, 
what a considerable impediment this is to those who 
addict themselves to books : there is not so wretched 
a brute, who has not some particular shining fa- 
culty ; no soul so buried in slow and ignorance, but 
it wiU sally at one time or another : and how it 
comes to pass, that a man, blind and asleep to every 

* Montaigne seems^ here to have had m view the fiiUi epistle ef 
Pliny, lib. iii. wherein giving an account to a friend of his, how old 
Plinjr, his uncle, spent his time in study ; he observes, that, one day 
as his uncle was reading a book to his friend, and the latter stopping 
him, to desire him to repeat certain words, which he had mispro« 
nounced, his uncle said to him, ''What! did not yoa understand 
" the meaning?" « Undoubtedly," said his friendl " And why 
«« then," said he, " did you stop the reader ? We have lost above 
** ten lines by your interruption.^ So great a busbaad was he of hii 


thing else, shall be found sprightly, clear, and ex- 
cellent in some one particular purpose, we are to in- 
quire of pur niiasters. 

But the choice spirits are they , that are universal, ^" jf^ 
qpen, and ready for all things ; if not instructed, at !^^c 
least capable of being so : this I say to accuse my ?|""^' 
own ; for, whether it be through infirmity or negh- **** 
gence (and to neglect that which lies at our feet, 
which we have in our hands, and what most nearly 
concerns the use of life, is far from my doctrine), 
there is not a soul in the world so awkward and igno* 
rant as mine, of several vulgar things, and things or 
which it is even a shame to be ignorant. 

I must give some examples of this : I was bom 
and bred in the country, and amongst husbandmen ; 
I have had business and husbandry m my own hands, 
ever since my predecessors, who were lords of the 
estate I now enjoy, left me to succeed them ; and 
yet I cannot cast up a sum, either by pen or coun- 
ters : I do not know most of our coins, nor the di£> 
ference between one ^ain and another, either grow- 
ing, or in the bam, if it be not too apparent ; and 
scarcely can distinguish ihe cabbage and lettuce in 
my garden: I do not so much as understand the 
names of the chief instraments of husbandry, nor 
the most ordinary elements of agriculture, which 
the very children know; much less the mechanic / 
arts, traffic, merchandise, the variety and nature of 
fruits, wines, and meats ; nor how to make a hawk 
fly, nor to physic a horse, or a dog. And since I 
must publish my whole shame, it is not above a 
month ago, that 1 was trapped in my ignorance of the 
use of leaven to make bread, or to what end it was to 
keep wine in the vat. They conjectured, of cdd, 
at Athens,* that a man, whom they saw dexterously 

; * ^ If Mpntai^e quoted this from his memoiyy as is highly dtoImh 
•ble, he was qustalcen in fixing Ihe fact at Athens ; for, accoroing to 
Diogenes Laertius, lib. ix. sect. SS, it was Protagoras, of Abdera^ 
who being observed by Democritus to be yery ingenious at making 
faggotSy he thought him capaUe of attaining, to the sublimesi 

3S2 OF rassuicpTxoir. 

make a &fgot of brush-wood, had a genius fbr the 
mathematics. In earnest, they would draw a quite 
contrary conclusion from me ; for to give me all the 
necessaries of a kitchen, I would starve. By these 
features of my confession, men may imagine others 
to my prejudice ; but whatever I deliver mysdf to 
be, provided it be such as I really am, I have my 
end ; neither will I make an^ excuse for committing 
such mean and frivolous things as these to p^per : 
the meanness of the subject compels me to it. They 
may, if they please, accuse my project, but not my 
progress. So it is, that, without any-body's telling 
me, I plainly see <^ how little weight and value m 
this is, and the folly of my design. It is enough 
that my judgment does not contradict itself, in these 
my Essays : 

NastUus sis usque licet, sis demque nasus^ 

Quantum noluerit ferre rogatus Atlas ; 
Etpossis ipsum tu deridere Latinum, 

JSIbn potes in rm^ dicere plvara meast 
Ipse ego quam dixt : quid dentem dentejuvahit 

RoaereP Came opas est, si satstr esse velisi 
Neperdas cperani, qui se miranimr, in iUus 

rvrus kabe, not hcee novimus esse nihil.* 

Be nos'd, be all nose, dll thy noee appear 
So great, that Atlas it refuse to bear; 
Though ev'n u;ainst Latinus thou inveigh, 
Against my trifles thou no more canst say 
Than I have said myself; then to what end 
Should we to render tooth for tooth contend ? 
You must have flesh, if you'U be full, my friend^ 
Lose not thy labour ; but on those that do 
Admire themselves thy utmost venom throw ; 
Hiat these things nothing are, full well we luiow^ 

1 am not obhged to utter absurdities, provided I 
am not deceived in them, and know them to be 

«deiice«; and took care liierein to instruct him. From hence it 
M very likely, liiat this was not ac Athens^ but at Afodera, which 
was the country both of Pvotagoras and Democritiit ; and Avhii 
OeDius expressly says so, lib. v. cap. $* 
* Mart. iib. xiii. epig. S. 


such ; and to trip knowingly is so ordinary with me, 
that I seldom do it otherwise, and rarely trip by 
chance : it is no great matter to add ridiculous ac- 
tions to the temerity of my humour, since I cannot hii iickif. 
ordinarily help supplying it with those that are"*"" 

I was one day at Barleduc, when king Francis the The pic. 
second, for a memorial of Rene, king of Sicily, was*^^*^***^^. 
presented with a picture he had drawn of him- of sicuy,"* 
self. Why is it not, in like manner, lawful for every JfJ^^**^ 
one to draw himself with a . pen, as he did with a 
crayon? I will not therefore omit this blemish, 
though veiT unfit to be published, which is irresolu- 
tion } a defect very detrimental in the negotiations 
of the afiairs of the world : in doubtful enterprises, I 
know not what to resdlve on : 

Ne si, nenOf nel car mi suona intero. 

I can*t, from my heart, pronounce yes, or no. 

I can maintain an opinion, but I cannot choose one, 
by reason that, in human things, to what party 
soever a man inclines, many appearances present 
themselves, that confirm us in it ; and the philoso- 
pher Chrysippus said,* " That he would only learn 
^' the doctnnes of Zeno and Cleanthes, his masters; 
^^ for as to proofs and reasons, he would find enough 
*• of his own :'* which way soever I turn, I still fur- 
nish myself with cause, and probability, enough to 
Six me there ; which makes me detain doubt, and 
the liberty of choosing, till occasion presses me ; and 
then, to confess the truth, I, for the most part, 
throw the feather into the wind, as the saying is, 
and commit myself to the mercy of fortune ; a very 
light inclination and circumstance carries me along 
with it : 

Jhim in dubio est ttnimus, pauh memento hue aique iUm 

* Diog. Laert in the Life of Chrysippusi lib. viL lect. 1791 
t Terent. Andr. act L sc. 6. ver. S2. 
VOL, U. 2 A 


Wbilehe is divided in bis miod, a little naatterHvUl turn him 
one w^, or the other. 

The imceptiiiiity of tnj judgment is so equalty hs^ 
Hanced in most oocurrenoes, that I could mmn^y 
Tefer it to be decided by lot, or the tumtif a diet 
and I observe, with great consideration of our hu- 
man infirmity, the examples that the dtvine fafstory 
itself has left us of this custom of referring the de- 
iermination of elections, in doubtful things, to ifor- 
tune and chance: Sors 4:ecidit ^uper Matthiam:^ 
^^ The lot fell upon Matthias.*^ Human reason is 
A two^dged and a dangerous sword: observe, in 
the hand of Socrates, its most intimate and familiar 
friend, how many several points it has. I am also 
^ood for nothing but to fbuow, and suffer mysdf to 
be easily carried away with the crowd : I have not 
confidence enough in my own strength to take upon 
me to command and lead : I am very glad to nnd 
the way beaten Ijefore me by others : if I must nm 
the hazard of an uncertain choice, I am rather wil- 
ling to have it under such a one as is more conrfident 
in his opinions than I am in mine, whose ground 
and foundation i find to be very slippery. 
Not given Yet I do not easily change, by reason Ihat I dis- 
witii regard cem tlie Same weakness in contrary onions. Ipsa 
to state af. comuetudo ossentiefuH periculosa esse videtur, et In- 
**"' . brica :t *' The very custom of assenting seems to be 
*^ dangerous and siippeir/' Especially in political 
affiiirs, there is a large neld open fer wavenng and 
dispute : 

Justa pQTi premitwr veluti cum ponder e libra^ 
Prcna ftec hoc plus parte sedety nee surgit al illa.X 

lake a just balance press'd wkb e^ual weight. 
Nor dips, nor rises, out the beam is straight 

MachiavePs writings, for example, were solid enough 
fi)r the subject, yet they were easy enough to be 

* Act9, chap. i. Ycr. 26. f Cic. Acad. lib. iv. cap. 21. 

i Tibullus, lib. iv. Panegyr. ad Messalavi, vfar. il, iS. 


controverted ; tod they who have taken lip the cud- 
gels against him, have left it as easy to controvert 
theirs. There were never wanting, in that kind of 
argument, replies upon replies, rejoindres sur re^ 
joindresj and that infinite contexture of debates, 
which our wrangling pettifoggers have spun out in 
favour of law-suits : 

Ccedmvry et Iblid&m plagis consuThifnui hostem.* 

By turns the foe beats us, and we the foe, 
t>ealing to each, alternate, blow for blow. 

Reasons having little other foundation therein than 
experience, and the variety of human events pre- 
senting us with infinite examples of all sorts of forms. 
An Understanding person, ofour times, says, ^* That 
'^ i^oever would, m contradiction to our almanacksit 
** write cold where they say hot, and wet where 
" they say dry, and always put the contrary to what 
** they foretef ; if he were to lay a wager on the 
^* events, he would not care which side he took, ex- 
<« ceptiiig things wherein no uncertainty could fall 
^^ out ; ad to promise excessive heats at Christmas^ 
*' or extremity of ^old at Midsummer, which can-* 
** not possibly be/* I have the same opinion of 
these political controversies ; be on which side you 
will^ yOu have as fair a game to play as your ad- 
vetsaary, provided you do not proceed so far as 
to jostle principles that are too manifest (o be 
diluted: yet, in my opinion, in public affairs 
there is no management §o ill, provided it be an* 
cient, and has been constant, tnat is not bettel* 
than change and motion. Our manners are ex- 
treikiely ccnrupted, and wonderfully incline to the 
worse : of our laws and customs, there are many 
that are barbarous and monstrous : nevertheless, by 
reason of the difficulty of reformation, and the dan^^ 
ger of stirring things, if I could put a peg to the 

* Hor. 13). ii. eput 2, ver. 97- 


wheel, and keep it where it is, I would do it withal! 
liiy heart : 

Nunquam adeo faedis adeoque pudendis 

Utimur exempliSf ut nan pijora supersint,* 

Bad as the instances we give, ^tis plain. 
Others might be produc'd of fouler stain. 

The worst thing I find in our state, is the instability 
of it) and tha^t our laws, no more than our old 
clothes, cannot settle in any certain form. It is very 
easy to accuse a government of imperfection, for all 
ihortal things are full of it : it is very easy to beget 
in a people a contempt of ancient observances ; ne- 
ver any man undertook it, but he did it ; but to 
establish a better regimen in the stead of that which 
a man has overthrown, many who have attempted it, 
have been baffled. I very little consult my prudence 
in my conduct ; I am willing to be guided by the 
pubhc rule : happy people, who do what they are 
commanded better than they who command, without 
tormenting themselves with the causes ; who suffer 
themselves gently to roll with the celestial revolu- 
tion ; obedience is never pure nor calm in him who 
argues and disputes. 
tJpoDwhat . In fine, to return to myself, the only thing by 
toi^Vs which I esteem myself to be something, is that 
esteem of whcrciu uevcr any man thought himself to be defec- 
fo^ed.' tive; my recommendation is vulgar and eommon, 
for who ever supposed he wanted sense ? It would 
be a proposition tnat would imply a contradiction in 
itself; it is a disease that never is where it is discern- 
ed ; it is tenacious and strong, but a disease, never- 
theless, which the first ray of the patient's siglit 
pierces through, and disperses, as the beams of the 
sun do thick mists. To accuse one's self would be 
to excuse, in this case ; and to condemn, to absolve. 
There never was a porter, or the silliest wench, that 

• • Juv. aal. Yiii. ver. ISS. 


did not think they had sense enough to do their bu« 
siness. We readily enough confess an advantage of 
courage, strength, experience, geod-nature, and 
beauty in others ; but an advantage in judgment we 
yield to none, and the reasons that simply proceed 
from the natural sense of others, we think, if we had 
but turned our thoughts that way, we should our- 
selves have found them out As for knowledge, 
style, and such parts as we see in others' works, we 
are soon sensible if they excel our own ; but, for the 
mere products of the understanding, every one thinks 
he could have found out the like, and is hardly sensi* 
ble of the weight and difficulty, if not (and then 
with much ado) in an extreme and incomparable dis- 
tance : and whoever could be able clearly to discern 
the height of another's judgment, would be also able 
to raise his own to the same pitch ; so that it is a 
sort of exercise, from which a man is to expect very 
little praise, and a kind of composition of small re- 
pute : besides, for whom do you write ? The learned, wheeh« • 
to whom the authority appertains of judging books, JSJI^ him!!* 
know nothing valuable but learning, and allow of nosei^^o"^***^ 
' other progress in our minds but that of erudition and''^^*"^* 
art If you have mistaken one of the" Scipios for 
another, what is all the rest you have to say worth ? 
MTioever is ignorant of Aristotle, according to their 
rule, is, in the same measure, ignorant of himself: . 
heavy and vulgar souls cannot discern the grace of 
refined reasoning : now, these two classes constitute 
the bulk of mankind. The third sort, into whose 
hands you fall, of. souls that are regular and strong 
of themselves, is so rare, that it justly has neither 
name nor place amongst us ; and it is so much time 
I6st to aspu'e to it, or endeavour to please it. 

It is commonly said, that the justest dividend na-^^^^^* 
ture has given us of her &vours, is that of sense, forS^otiVic 
there is no one that is not contented with his share :^ *?' 
is it not for this reason ? Whoever could discern be-hil^opi? 
yond that, would see beyond his sight. I think my ■'®"'^«*"*- 
jofhiion^ are good and sound i but who does not 

358 01 PRESUMFTIOlf. 

think th^ sAme of his ? One of the beat pr6d& I have 
that mine are so, is the sinaU esteem I have of my- 
self; for, had they net been very well settled, they 
would easily have suffered themselves to have been 
deeeived by the peculiar affection I bear to myseli^ 
as one that reduces it almost wholly to myself, 
and does not let scarce any run by. Ail that others 
distribute of it amongst an infinite number of fnends 
and acquaintance, to their glory and grindeur, I de- 
dicate wholly to Uie repose of my own mind, aad to 
myself. That which escapes of it from me, ia not 
properly by the rule of my reason : 

Mihi nempevaleref et invere docius.* 

To love myself I very well can tell, 
So as to live content^ and to be well. 

Now I find my opinions very bold and constai^ in 
pondemning my own imperfection ; and, to say the 
truth, it is a subject upon which I exercise niy judg- 
ment, as much as upon any other. The woxld I00& 
always opposite } I turn mv sight inwards, th^e fix 
pd employ ^t : every one looks before him, I look 
into myself; I have no other business bnt myself;. \ 
am eternally meditating upon myself, contrpl and 
|aste myself: other men's tnqi^hts ai^e ever wander- 
ing abroad j if they set themsewes to serious thijak.- 
ing, they are always looking before them : 

Nemo in sese tentai descendere.f 
No man attempts to dive into himself. 

For my part, I wheel mysplf in my own sph^e : and 
diis capacity of trying the truth, whatever it be, in 
me, and this free humour of not easily sybjeciing noiy 
belief, I owe principally to myself; ^x the strpng^a^ 
and most general imaginations I have, are those 
that, as a man may say, were born with me j lliey are 
natural, and entirely my own: I produced them 
crude and simple, in a strong and boM manner, bijt 
a little confused and impeoect ; I have since e&t^ 

*l4^cr^t.U^v.ver.9^9. f ?«»• Wt iy. vet. 2a. 


bUshed and fortified them with the authority ^f others, 
aaod by the sound examj^Ies of the ancients, whom I 
have found of the same judgment : they have given 
me &ster hold, and a clearer enjoyment and posses* 
sion of it J the reputation that every one courts of 
Advacity^ and- readiness -of wit, I aim at Srom regular 
rity ; the glory they pretend to from: a brave and 
signal action, of some particular ability, I claim from^ 
order, correspondence, and tranquillity, of opinions 
and manners. Omnino si quidquam est decorum^ nihil 
est profe&o magis quhm aquabilitas universa vita,, 
tuuik singularum actionum : quam conservare nan pos^ 
siSf si aiiorum natUTHim imitans^ omittas tuam ;* '^ If 
*^ any thing be entirely decent, nothing certainly 
*^ Imcwe, than an uniformity of the whole life, 
" and in every particular action of it ; which thou 
^^ canst not possibly preserve, if, in imitating other 
^ men's, thou neglectest to cultivate thy own genius.*' 
Here then you see . to what degree I find myself 
g^ty of this, which I. said was tiie first part of the 
vice of Presumption* 

As to the second^ which consists in not having aMontaigM 
sufficient esteem for others, I know not whether Ino^m«wh 
can so* well excuse myself; but, whatever comes ofS^^STia 
It, I sflxi resolved to speak the truth : and whetherjJ^J^'JJ^^ 
pediaps,. it. be, that we continual acquaintance ItiiLnT" 
nave had with the humours of the ancients^ and the^ 
idea of those great souls of past ages, disgusted me, 
hotix with others and myself; or that, in truths the 
age we live in produces but very indifferent things ; 
y^t so it is, that I see nothing worthy of any great 
admiration ; neither, indeed, have I such an in- 
timacy with many men, as is requisite to form a 
judgment of them ; and those with whom nnr coa* 
dition. makes me the most frequent, are ror the 
most part^ men that take little care of the culture of 
the mind, but look upon honour as the sum of all 
blessings, and valour as the height of all perfection* 



Heiored What I See that is handsome in others^ I very rea» 
mrad"^e. ^^ coHimend and esteem ; nay, I often say more in 
rit, wbe. their commendation, than, I think, they really de* 
frfenluor s^rve, and give myself so fiur leave to lie; for I can- 
enemiet. not invent a felse subject. My testimony is never 
wanting to my friends, in what I conceive deserves 
praise ; and where a foot is due to them, in point of 
merit, I am willing to give them a foot and half; but 
to attribute to them qualities that they have not, I 
cannot do it, nor openly ddend their imperfections i 
nay, I frankly give my very enemies their due testi- 
mony of honour : my affection alters, my judgment 
does not ; I never confound my controversy with 
other circumstances that are foreign to it ; and am 
so jealous of the liberty of my judgment, that I can 
very hardly part with it for any passion whatever : 
I do myself a greater injury in lying, than I do him 
KDMBfeti of whom I tell a lie. This commendable and gene- 
by"ieptr.^^"^ custom is obscrvcd of the Persian nation, 
sians for " That they spoke of their mortal enemies, and those ' 
their tir- ^c ^^jj whom they were at deadly wars, as honour- 
" ably and justly as their virtues deserved." I know 
men enough that have several fine parts ; one wit, 
another courage, another address, another conscience, 
another language, one one science, another another; 
but a man generally great, and that has all these ac- 
complishments united, or any one of them to such 
a degree of excellence, that we should admire him, 
- or compare him with those we honour of times 
past, my fortune never brought me acquainted with 
one ; the greatest I ever knew, I mean for na- 
tural parts, and the best-natured man living, was 
Preiaeof Stephen Boetius; his was a capacious soul in- 
BMUut ^^^» ^^^ ^^ every way a beautiml aspect ; a soul 
of the old stamp, and that would have produced 
great deeds, had fortune been so pleased, as he had 
added much to those great natural parts by learning 
and study. 

But how comes it to pass I know not, and yet it 
is certainly so, there is as much vanity and weakness 


o£ judgment in those who profess the greatest abili- From 
ties, ^o take upon them learned callings, and book-^^J^J^ 
ish employments, as in any sort of men whatever ; imu tiiat 
either oecause more is required arid expected fromJJI^^J/^ 
them, and that common defects are inexcusable in^aiOfUd 
them ; or, trul}^, because the opinion they have of ^Je^ 
tiieir own learning makes them more bold to expose ■t^nd^'^s- 
and lay themselves too open, by which they lose and 
betray tliemselves. As an artificer more betravs his 
want of skill in a rich work that he has in his hand, 
if he disgrace it by ill handling, and working contrary 
to the rules required, than in a mean subject ; and 
men are more displeased at a fiiult in a statue of 
gold than in one ofalabaster ; so do these, when they 
exhibit things that, in themselves, and in their place, 
would be good : for they make use of them without 
discretion, honouring their memories at the expense 
of their understanding, and making themselves ridi- 
culous, to honour Cicero, Galen, Ulpian, and St. 

I willingly fall again into the discourse of the folly 
of our education ; the end of which has not been to 
render us good and wise, but learned, and it has ob- 
tained it : it has not taught us to follow and embrace 
virtue and prudence, but has imprinted in us the de- 
rivation and etymology, of those words : we know how 
to decline virtue, yet we know not how to love it : 
if we do not know what prudence is in efibct, and 
by experience, we have it, however, by jargon and 
by heart. We are not content to know the extrac- 
tion, kindred, and alliances of our neighbours ; we 
desire, moreover, to have them our friends, and to 
establish a correspondence and- intelligence with 
them : this education of ours has taught us defini- 
tions, divisions, and partitions of virtue, as so many 
surnames and branches of a genealogy, without any 
farther care of establishing atiy fiimiliarity or intimacy 
between it and us. Our education has culled out; 
for our initiary instruction, not such books as con- 
> tain the soundest and truest opinions, but those that 

3ffiK ior Fin5auM^(»r. 

jBpeak the beert Greek and Latin ; and by their florid 
words have instUled in our fancjr die vaineat humour 

A giMd education dters the ^pidgmait and man^ 
ner^ ; as' it happened to Polemon, a young debauch- 
ed Greek, who going, by chance, to hear one of 
Xenocrates^s leetures, not only observed the elo- 
,qputence and lewning of the reader, and not only 
brou^t home the knowlec^e of some fine matter ;, 
but he gained more mani&st and solid profit, which 
wa:' the sudden change and reformation of his fi)iy 
mer life. Who ever J&>und such an effect of our dift- 

• Faciasne quod olim 

Mutatus Polemon, ponas insignia morbi, 
Fasdolasj cMtaljjhcaiioy potus ut iUe 
Posiquam esi impransi correpius.voce Magistri ?^ 

€anst tfaou, like PoleiDon Tcclsim'd, jcmove 
Thy foppish dress, those symptoms of thy love ; 
As he wbyen drunk, with gadands louod nis head, 
Cbanc'd once to hear the sober Stoic read y 
Asham'd; he took his garlands off, began 
Another eoitise, and grew a sober man ?' 

The man. T^tscems to mc to be the least contemptible. con« 
wJliIner^'^ ditiou of mcn, which, by its simplicity,, is seated ia 
•*jrt^p«»-the lowest degree, and mvites us to a more reKulac 
re^Ta/^ couduct. I find the manners and language of thet 
S^i** w* country people conmionly better suited to the pre- 
hwop^hLsf scription of true philosopny, than those of our philo^ 
sophers themselves. Fltcs mpit vulgus^ quia tantum^ 
q^uantum optis esty sapit :t '^ The vulgar are so much ' 
" the wiser, because they only know what is needfiiL 
•* for them to know.** 
Thegreat- The most remarkable men, as I have judged by 
Hon in' outward appearances (for, to judge of them accord- 
M^e% ^°S *^ ^y ^^^^ method, I must penetrate into them 
wS^^ a great deal deeper), for war and military conduct, 

* Hor. lib. ii. saU S, ver. 2S% &q* f liactanU. Ij)stitut. lib. ir* 

ow ?itx9ifMFTKnt« ass 

wero the duke of Gui3e> who died 9t Orieaot^ awl the 
late marshal Sirozzy. 

For gownsmen of great ability, and no cofomot^^or the 
vifftue, Olivier and De THoafiitaU chancdloxs ofSSty Vnd 
Fniice» worth, 

Poeflv too, in my o{Hnion, has 4ottrt3hed in thisr^^^^^i 
agew We have abundsmce of venr good artista in.p^.^*" 
^ class, Aurat, Be^e^ Buduman^ rHoatpital, Moiab- 
dore, and Turnebua. 

As to the French poets, I beUeve they have^zceiieacy 
laised it to the highest pitch to which it wM ever w-p^*^ 
rive; and, in tho^e parts of it wherein Ronsard andpo^ 
Pu Bellay excel, I find them little inferior to the 
andent perfection. 

Adrian Tiur nebua kaewmore, and whathe didknow, charactrr 
better than any man of his time, or long before him. bos.""*^ 

The lives of the last duke of AJva, and of our con- of the 
stable^De Montmorency, were both of them nobievAWaaLi 
afid had many rare resemblances of fi^rtune ; but the^^ consc*. 
beauty and the glory of the death of the last, in theMoatmo. 
a^t of Paris, and of his king, in their service, '^^y* 
against bi& nearest relation, at the head of an army> 
thrqu^h faia conduct, victorious, and with sword m 
hand, at so extreme an old age, merits^ methioks, to 
1?^ recorded amongst the most remarkablie events of 
oiur times : as also the constant goodniessi sweetnesa 
of behaviour, and conscientious &cility of mona«eu£ Aud or m, 
De la Noue, in so great an injustice of armed parties oeiaNooe. * 
(the ^ue school of treason, inhumanity, and robbery), 
wherein he always kept up the reputation qf a great 
and experienced captain. 

I have taken a deU^ht to publish, in several places. And or 
tihe hopes I have of Mary de Gournay le Jars, ^y^^^^ 
adopted daughter,,* and certainly beloved by me ""™^* 

^ As to the meaoing of theae words, Ado9t«4.D8iighter> af»JibB 
article Gourn at in bayle's Dictionary; where you nt^iDfiM^ tfiat 
this young lady's opinion of the first Essays of Montaigne gave the 
occasion ror tiiis adoption, long before she ever saw Montaigne. 
But here I cannot help transcribing a part of a passage, which Mr. 
Bayle quoted firom M. Pasquier, in the note A, which Contains somo 



with more than a paternal love, and involved in my 
solitude and retirement, as oqe of the best parts of 
my own being. I have no regard to any tiling in 
this world but her; and, if a man may presage i^om 
her youth, her sotd will, one day, be capable of 
the noblest things; and, amongst others, of the per- 
fection of sacred friendship, to which we do not 
read that any of her sex could ever yet arrive : the 
sincerity and solidity of her manners are already suf- 
ficient ror it; her affection towards me is more than 
superabundant, and such, in short, as that there is 
nothing more to be wished, if not that the apprehen- 
sion she has of my end, being now five and fifty 
years old, might not so cruelly afflict her. The 
^ -^l judgment she made of my first Essays, being a woman 
so young, and in this age, and alone in her own 
country, and the famous vehemency wherewith she 
loved, and desired me upon the sole esteem she had 
of me, before she ever saw me, is an accident very 
worthy of consideration. 
Vftionr u Other virtues have had little or no credit in this 
^^ la ^^S^ ^^^ valour is become popular by our civil wars j 
fraace. and in this respect we have souls brave, even to per- 
fection, and in so great number, that the choice is 
impossible to be made. This is all of extraordinary^ 
and not common^ that has hitherto arrived at my 

remaiicable particulan of this sort of Adoption. ** Moataiffne,'* 
•ays Pasquiery ^ having, in ]588» made a long stay at Paris, Made* 
'' moiselfe de Jan came thither, on purpose to see his person ; and 
«< she and her mother carried him to thenr house at Goumay, where 
** he spent two months in two or three joumejrs, and met with as 
*' hearty a welcome as he could desire ; and, nnally, that this vir- 
** tuous lady, being informed of Montaigne's death, crossed almost 
'* throuffh the whde kingdom of Francie, with passports, as well 
" from ner own motiTe, as by invitation from Montaigne's widow 
** and daughter, to mix her tean with theirs, whose sorrows were 
'< boundlesB." 





Of giving the Lie. 

X, but some one will say to me, " This de-^y Moh- 
" sign of making a man's self the subject of his wri-JJ23a,ij 
** ting were excusable in rare and famous men, who, «'*•■•'. 
*^ by their reputation, had given others a ciuiosity tulwJil 
*' to be fiilly mformed of them." It is most true, 1 
confess it, and know very well, that artificers will 
Scarce lift their eyes £rom their work to look at an 
ordinary man, when they will forsake their work- 
houses and shops to stare at an eminent person, 
when he comes^to town: it misbecomes any person 
to give his own character, except he has qualities 
worthy of imitation, and whose life and opinions 
may serve for a model. Hie great actions or Caesar 
and Xenophon were a just and solid basis on which 
to fix and found their narratives : and it .were also to 
be wished, that we had the Journals of Alexander 
the Great, and the Commentaries that Augustus, 
Cato, Sylla, Brutus, and others have left of their ac- 
tions. We love and contemplate the very statues of 
such personages, both in copper and marble. This 
remonstrance is very true, but it very little concerns 

Nan reciio cmquam, nisi amicis, idque ro^atus ]* 
Non ubivis, coramve quibuslihet : in medio qui 
Scriptaforo redtant, sunt mtdti, quique iavantes.f 

I seldom e'er rehearse, and when I do 
Tis to my friends, and with reluctance too. 
Not before every one, and every where ; , 
We have too many that rehearsers are. 
In baths, the forum, and the public square. 

i * Instead of coactuSf as Horace has it in the first verse, Montaigne 
has substituted rogatus^ which more exactly expresses his thought, 
f Hon lib. i. sat. 4, ver. 7S| &c 


I do not here form a statue to erect in the centre of 
a city, in the church, or any public quadrangle : . 

Non eqtiidem ktK^tvdeOj ImllsUii Ut mihi ntigis 

Pagina iurgescai : 
Secreti loqyimur,* 

With pompous trash to swell the frothy line 
h n6t, indeed, my friend^ what i design : 
^ Whatever be the tecnsts I indite. 
To you I trusty to you alone I write. 

It is for some corner of a library, or to entert&iti 
a neighbour, a kinstnan, or a frieod, that has a mind- 
to renew his acquaintance and familiarity with me in 
this my picture. Others have been encourtiged to 
speak of themselves, because they found the sulgeot 
worthy and rich ; I, on the contrary, am the bolder^ 
by reasofn my subject is so poor and sterile^ that I 
cannot be suspected of ostetittation« I judge fndy 
of the actions of others ; I give littte of my own ta 
judge o^ because of thdr nothingness : I am not so 
conscious of any good in myself^ as to teU it without 
blushing. -What contentment would it be to me 
to hear any thus relate to me the manners, &ce8» 
countenances^ the ordinary words kod ibrtuAesOf 
my ancestors? How attentively should I listen 
to it! In truth, it would be ill-nature to despise 
even the pictures of our friends and predecessors^ 
the fashion of their clothes, and of their arms. I 
preserve my father's writings, his seal, and one 

f>articular sword of his, and have not thrown the 
ong staves he used to carry in his hand, out of my 
^ closet. Patema vestis^ et annulusj tanto churior est 
posterisj quanta erga partntes major affectus ;t *' A 
^^ father's robe and ring are so much the dearer to 
•* his posterity, in proportion to the affection they 
** retain for him." If my posterity, nevertheless, 
shall be of another mind, i shall be even with them; 
for they cannot care less for me, than I shall then do 
for them. All the traflSc that I have, in this, with 

* Pers. sat ▼. ver. 19. f AUg. de Chltate Del, 13i. I cap. IS. 


the public, is, that I borrow their writing tackle, a» 
it is more easy, and at hand ; and, in recom]>ease, 
shall, perhaps, keep a dish of butter from meltmg in 
the market 

Ne toga cordyUiSf nepenula desii olivis,* 
Et loxas scombris stBpe dabo twdca$.'\ 

VVL Ainiisb piaice and (dives widi a ccMft, 
And cover mack'rel wlien die sun diines liot. 

And though no body should read me, have I losttoi^^t?"* 
my time in entertsuning myself so many idle hours, mach of 
in thoughts so pleasing and useful? In moulding th^e* 
this figure upon myself, I haw been so oft constrain- "*«»»* ^ 
ed to curry and turn myself as it were, inside Out, know him- 
that the copy is truly tsdcen, and has, in some sort^ ■^|J^*JJ|J 
formed itself; But, as I paint for others, I represent own tm 
myself in more exquisite colouring than in my own^*""*^**'- 
natural complexion* I am a? much formed by my 
book, as my book is by me : it is a book consubstan- 
tial with the author ^ of a peculiar tenor ; a member 
of my life, and whose business is not designed fiM* 
others, as that of all other books is. In giving so 
continual and so curious an account of myself, 
have I lost any time ? for he who sometimes cursorily 
surveys himself only, doth not so strictly examine 
himself, nor penetrate so deep, as he who makes it 
his business, nis study, and his whole employment ; 
who intends to ^ve a lasting record, with all his fide- 
lity, and with aU his force. The most delicious plea- 
sures, however digested internally, avoid leaving any 
trace of themselves, and shun the sight not only of 
the people, but of any other man. How oft has 
this af&ir diverted me from uneasy thoughts ? And 
all that are frivolous should be reputed so. Nature 
has presented us with a large faculty of entertaining 
Ourselves apart ; and oft call us to it, to teach us, 
that we owe ourselves, in part, to society, but chiefly 
to ourselves. In order to habituate my fancy, even 
to meditate in some method, and to some end, and 

♦ Mart. lib. xiiL ep. 1, ver. 1. \ Catulluf, ep. 92, ver. 8. 


to keep it jQrom losing itself, and roving at random, 
it is but to give it a body, and to register all the 
pretty thoughts that present themselves to it* I 
give ear to my. whimsies, because I am to record 
them. How oft has it fkllen out, that, being dis- 
pleased at some action which civiUty and reason did 
not permit me openly to reprove^ I have here dis- 
gorged myself of them, not without des^ of public 
instruction : and yet these poetical lashes, / 

2km des swrV ceil, zon sur le groin^ 
Zonswrledos duSagoin.* 

A jerk over the eye, over the snout. 
Let Sagoin be jerk'd throughout, 

imprint themselves better upon paper, than upon the 
most sensible flesh. What if I listen to books a lit- 
tle more attentively than ordinary, since I watch if 1 
can purloin any thing that may adorn or support my 
own? I h^ye not at all studied to make a book ; but 
I have, in some sort, studied because I had made it, 
if it be studying, to scratch and pinch, now one 
author, and tiien another, either by the head or foot; 
not with any design to steal opiiiions from them, but 
to assist, second, and to fortify those I had before 
Ttieiuue But who shall we believe in the report he makes 
pj5?fo of himself, in so corrupt an age ? Considering there 
triith»an are SO few, if any at all, whom we can believe when 
^^"* speaking of others, where there is less interest to lie. 
The first step to the corruptiori of manners is banish- 
ing of truth ; for, as Pindar says, " To be sincerely 
** true is the beginning of a great virtue,'* and the 
first article that Plato requires in the government of 
his republic. The truth of these days is not that 
which really is such, but what every man persuades 
himself or another to believe ; as we generally give 
the name of money, not only to lawful coin, but to 
the counterfeit also, if it be current. Our nation jhas 

* Marot centre Sagoio. 



long been reproached with this vice ; for Salviisinus 
MassiliensiSy who lived in the time of the emperor 
Vaientinian, says, " That lying and peijury is not a 
^* vice with the French, but a way of speaking.'' 
Hethat would improve upon this testimony, might say, 
** That it is now a virtue with them." Men form and 
fashion themselves to it, as to an exercise of honour ; 
for dissimulation is one of the most notable qualities 
of this age. 

I have often considered, whence comes this cus-wbenco 
torn, that we so religiously observe, of bfeing more *"|comM 
highly offended with the reproach of a vice so iamutLnMmttt 
liar to us than with any other, and that it should he'^^^r^j^! 
the highest injury that can, in words, be done us,« tObeUieiu 
reproach us with a lie : upon examination, I find,*^- 
that: it is natural to disclaim tliose faults most, with 
which we are most tainted : it seems as if, by resent- 
ing and being moved at the accusation, we, in some 
sort, acquitted ourselves of the fault ; if we are 
guilty of it in fact, we condemn it, at least in appear- 
ance : may it also not be that this reproach seems 
to imply cowardice, and meanness of spirit? of 
which can there be a more manifest sign, than for a 
man to eat his own words ? What, to lieagainst a man's 
own Jcnowledge : lying is a base vice ; a vice that one Lying an 
of the ancients paints in the most odious colours, of^iSI^coL 
when he says, " That it is too manifest a con tempt t^^pt of 
*' of God, and a fear of man.'' It is not possiblei^**' 
more copiously to represent the horror, baseness, 
and irregularity of it ; for what can be imagined 
more vile, than a man, who is a coward towards man, 
so courageous as to defy his Maker ? Our intelligence 
being by no other cansil to be conveyed to one ano- 
ther but by words, he, who falsifies them, betrays 
public society : it is the only tube through which we 
communicate our thoughts and wills to one another ; 
it is the interpreter of the soul, and, if it fails us, 
we no longer know, nor have any farther tie upon 
another : if that deceive us, it breaks all our corres- 
pondence, and dissolves all the bands of our govern* 

VOL. 11, 2 B 


ment. Certain nations of the new-di8C0Pvered Indies 
Cno matter for naming them, since they are no mcHre ; 
for, by wonderful and unheard of example, the de- 
solation of that conquest extended to die utter abo- 
lition of names^ and the ancient knowledge of places) 
offered to their Gods human blood, ^ mtt only such 
^ as was drawn from the tongue and ears, to atone 
*^ for the sin of lying, as well heard asvpronounced/! 
The good fellow of Greece* was wont to say, " That 
^* children were amused with rattles, and men with 
** words." 
Thj ^ki Jig to the various usages of our giving the lie, and 
^BDotsothe laws of honour in that case, and the alterations 
the^wricilr^^^y have received^ ]^ shall defer saying what I know 
•fViBr>a>of them to another time, and shall learn^ if I can, 
we are. j^ |j|jg meanwhile, at what time the custom took 
banning, of so exactly weighing and measuring 
words, and of engaging our honour to them ; for it 
is easy to judge, that it was anciently amongst the 
Grreeks and Romans ; and I have oflen thought it 
strange to see them rail at, and give one another 
the lie, without any farther quarrel. The laws of 
their duty steered some other course than ours^ 
CsBsar ' is sometimes called thief, and sometimes 
drunkard, to his teeth. We see the liberty of in- 
vectives, which they practised upon one another, I 
mean the greatest chiefs of war of both nations, 
where wor(fi were only revenged with words, with- 
out any other consequence. 

* Lysander^ in Plutarch's Life of him, Ghap.4» 



Of Liberty of Conscience. 

jIT, is usual to see good intentions^ i{ pursued withAReiigiom 
out moderation, push men on to very vicious efiects. *~^^2r* 
In the dispute, which has now engaged France in agant wda 
civil wa-r, the best and the soundest cause, no doubt, ^"^ ^ 
is that which. maintains the ancient religion and go^Jwt. 
vemment of the kingdom. Nevertheless, amongst' 
the good men of that party (for I do not speak <£ 
those that make a pretence of it, either to execute 
their own particular revenge, or to gratify their ava- 
rice, or to court the &vour of princels ; but of those 
^ho engage in the quarrel out of true zeal to reli- 
gion, and a regard to the peace and government of 
their country), of these, I say, we see many whom 
passion transports beyond the bounds of reason,- and 
sometimes inspires with counsels that are unjust and 
violent, and also rash. 

It is true, that in those primitive times, when outTbit2t«i 
religion began to gain authority with the laws, zeal '^plJJSi^ 
armed many against all sorts of Pftgan books, bywhrntbe/ 
^hich the learned suffered an exceeiSng great loss r^^^ 
which, I conceive, did more prejudice to letters, to d«troy 
than all the flames Idndjed by the barbarians. Of b!^.. 
this Cornelius Tacitus is a very good witness ; for 
though the emperor Tacitus, his kinsman, had, by 
express order, furnished all the libraries in the world 
with his book, nevertheless, one entire copy could 
not escape the curious search of those who desired 
to abolish it, for only Ave or six idle clauses in it, 
that were contrary to our belief. 

. They were also very ready to lend undue praises And to 
to all the emperors who did any thing for us, andj™p^^* 
universally to condemn all the actions, of those who^^^o ^^ ' 
were our adversaries, as is manifest in the emperor chri^aau 
Julian, sumamed the Apostate ; who was, in truth, ty, «uito 



ii^*^^d'o-* ^^^ great and rare man, a man in whose soul that 

there, who philosophy was imprinted in lively characters, by 

IJPP^J^ which he professed to govern all his actions ; and, 

ter«.f the in truth, there is no sort of virtue, of which he has 

joHanThe ^^* ^^ behind him very notable examples. In 

Apostate, chastity (of which the whole course of his life ha^ 

Hw chastu giygn manifest proof) we read the like of hiiri^ as 

was said of Alexander and Scipio,* that, being in^ 

the flower of his age (for he was slain by the Par- 

thians at one and thirty), of a great many very beau^^ 

. tifiil captives, he would not touch, nor so much as 

look upon one. As to his justice,t he took himself 

the pains to hear the parties, jaxid although be would, 

out of curiosity, inquire what religion they were o^* 

nevertheless the hatred he had to ours, never turned 

the balance* He made several, good laws, and cut 

off a great part of the subsidies and taxes levied bjr 

his predecessors.t , r i 

b^^d b ^^ ^*^® *^^ ^^^^ historians, M^ho were eye-wit-f 

twohisto- tiesses of his actions ; one of whom, Marcellinus, in 

^*JJ|'^^'^ several places of his history, sharply reproves an: 

ofhlsac- edict of his; whereby *' He interdicted all Christian 

HoM. cc rhetoricians and grammarians from keeping school, 

** or teaching," and says, " he could wish that act 

** of his had been buried in silence." § It is very 

likely, that, had he done any more severe things 

against us^ the historian, who was so afiectionate to 

our party, would not have passed it over in silence^ 

ret'ionfby "^ was, indeed, sharp against Us, but ^et no 

*f* ch^*^* cruel enemy : for our own people tell us this story 

tianauthOT.of him, " That, one day, walking about the city 

'^ of Chalcedon, Maris, bishop of that place, called 

*^ out to him, and told him, tnat he was an atheist^ 

*' and an apostate :" to which he only answered, 

" Go, wretch, and lament the loss of thy eyes:" 

to this the bishop replied again, ^^ I thank Jesus 

« "^ 

♦ Ammian. Marcell. lib. xxiv. chap. 8. ^ ' 

f Idem, lib.xxi. cap. 10. ^ 

... . t Idem, lib. xxv. cap. 5, 6. § Idem^ lib^xxii. cigp. 10- . ^ 


^ Christ for taking away my sight, that I might not 
^ see thy impudent &ce.**^ So it is» that this action 
of his savours nothing of the cruelty that he is said 
to have exercised towards us ; though they say, that 
his' answer to the bishop was but an afiectation of 
philosophic patience. " He was (sajrs £utropius,t 
my other witness) an enemy to Christianity, but 
^' without shedding blood/' And, to return to his Hia justice, 
justice, there is nothing in that whereof he can be 
iadcused, but die severity he practised in the begin- 
ning of his reign, against those who had followed the 
party of Constantius, his predecessor^ 

A^ to his sobriety, he lived always a soldier kind j^*" ■^^^•' 
of lifb ; and kept a table, in times of the most pro- ^' 
fband peace, like one that prepared and inured him- 
self to the rigours of war. § 

His vigilance was such, that he divided the night h*' ▼'t^ 
into three or four parts, of which always the least '*^** 
w*s dedicated to sleep ; the rest was spent either in . . - 
visiting his army and guards, or in study; for, 
amongst other rare qualities, he was excellent in aU 
sorts of literature. It is said of Alexander the 
Great, "That, when he was in bed, lest sleep 
^^ should divert him from his thoughts and studies, 
** he had always a bason set by his bed-side, and 
" held one of his hands out with a bullet of copper 
^^ in it, to the end that, if he fell asleep, and his 
^^ fingers left their hold, the bullet, by falling into 
" the bason, might awake him." II But this Julian 
was so bent apon what he had a mind to do, and so 
little disturbed with fumes, by reason of his singular 
abstinence, that he had no nee4 of 9,ny such int- 

As to his military experience, he was admirable "««»•«<* 
in all the qusJities of a great captain, as it wasmf^ 

^ .Sosomen's Ecclesiastical History, lib. y.. cap. 4.. 

f Butrop. lib. X. cap. S. 

X Amniian. Marceil. lib. xxii. cap. 2. 

§ Idem, lib. xvi. cap. 2, et xzTi. cap. 5« 

I }deni|Ub»xTL9ap. ^ . 


likely he should, havihff been, almost all his life, in 
a continual exercise of war, and most of that ^e 
with us in France, against the Germans and Franco^ 
nians : we hatrdly read:of any man that ever encoujt* 
tered more dangers, or that gave more ftequent 
pfoofe of his personal valour. 
HU death. His death nas something in it like that of Epaouk 
nondas ; for he was wounded with an arrow, whidi 
lie tried to pull out, and iroiild have done it, but 
that, being two-edged, it cut the sinews of hishandu 
He cdled out forthwith, " That they would carry 
*^ him, in this condition, into the midst of the batr 
•^ tie to encourage his sddiers,'^ who veiy bravdy 
disputed the battle without him, till night parttd 
the armies.'*^ He was obliged to his philosopoy fi>r 
the singular contempt he had for his life, and aU 
human things; and be had a firm belief of the im<t 
mortality of the sonl. 
Hewakad. In mittters of religion, he was vicious tbrougfaout> 
tbe^wor^ and was surnamed the Apostate, for having relin^? 
•hip of' oiiished ours: though, metbinks, it is more likely^^ 
faiwgodi. that he had never tnoroughly embraced it, but bad" 
[. ^, dissembled, out of obedience tp the laws, till he 

came to the empire, ^o^.MLi: - 

Ezeetsive. Hc was, in his own, so superstitious, that he 
Ifomr"^^*^ laughed at for it, by those of the same opinion 
of his own time, who said) ^^ That, had he got the 
^ victory over the Parthians, he would have d6- 
*^ stroyed the breed of oxen in the world to supply 
** his sacrifices." + He was, moreover, a bigot to 
the art of divination, and gave authority to aU sorts 
of predictions. He said, amongst otbei; things, at 
his death,t " That he was obliged to the gods, and 
" thanked them, in that they had not been pleased 
" to cut him off by surprise, having, long before, ad- 
*^ vertised him or the place and hour or his death ; 
'^ nor by a mean and unmanly death, more becom* 

* Ammian. Marcell. lib. xxv, cap. 5- 

f Idem, ibid. cap. 6. If. Idem, ibid, cap- It 


^ ing lazy and delicate people ; nor by a death that 
*^ was languishing, and painful ; and that diey had 
^^ thought him worthy to die after that noble man- 
^ ner, in the career of his victories, and in the 
^^ height of his glory/' He had a vision like that 
of Marcus Brutus, that first threatened him in Gaul^^ 
and afterwards appeared to him in Persia, just be- 
fore his death.t These words, that seme make him 
say, when he &It himself wounded, ^* Thou hast 
" overcome, Nazanenej^'t or, as others, " Content 
*^ thyself, Nazarene,'' would hardly have been 
omitted, had they been beKeved by my witnesses^ 
who, being present in the army> have set down even 
the least motions and words of his latter end, no 
more than certain other strange things that are re^ 
corded of him. 

To return to my subject, ^^ He long nourished,'^ He aimH 
sa3rs Marcellinus, ^^ Paganism in his heart; but, all^nlJ^,^ 
«« h» army being Chrirtians, he durst not own it :§ ni«»* «mi 
«' but, in the end, seeing himself strong enough to^^chhl 
^' dare to discover himself, he caused the temples '^i»y 
" of the gods to be thrown open, and did his utr !jSi?di^!? 
** most to set on foot a^n idolatry.ll The better to**®»» ^jy* 
** effect tills, having at Constantinople, found thefemioa.*** 
^^ people disunited, and also the prelates of the 
*^ church divided amongst themselves, and having 
^^ convened them all before him, he gravely and 
^^ earnestly admonished them to calm those civil , \ 
** dissentions ; and that every one might freely, and f .f? * 
^* without fear, follow his own religion : this he did I 
^^ the more sedulously solicit, in hopes that this li- ) ' 
^^ cence would augment the schisms and Action of 1 
^^ their division, and hinder the people from reunit- j 
^* ing, and consequently fortifying themselves / 
^^ against him by their unanimous intelligence and 
*^ concord; having experienced, by the cruelty of 

* Ammian. Marccll. lib. xx. cap. 5* f Idem, lib. xxr. cap. % 
t Vicifiti, Galilflee. Theodoret, Hist Eccles. lib. iiL ca^. 90. . 
I Idenij lib. julv cap. 2. H Ammian. Marcell* lib. xxii. c«p« S^ 


'^ some Christians, that there is no beast in the 

^^ "world so much to be feared by man, as man/' 

Rfflectiont These are very near his words, wherein this is 

^!^ith*]!^ worthy of consideration, that the emperor Julian 

i^tothe made use of the same receipt of liberty of con- 

cooscLte science, to inflame the civil dissensions, that our 

granted, in kings havc uow douc to extiuguish them : so that it 

tai^Vi may be said, on one side, ^' That to give the peo^ 

Proteit.^ ** pie the reins to entertain every man his own ppi- 

•flu* * ^^ pion i§ to scatter and sow division, and, as it 

^^ were, to lend a hand to augment it, there being 

^^ no barrier nor correction of law to stop and hin* 

^^ der its career ;** but, on the other side, a man 

may also say, " Tliat to give people the reins to en- 

^^. tertain every man his own opinion, is to mollify 

*^ and appease them by facility and toleration, and 

** dulls the point which is whetted and made sharper 

** by singularity, novelty, and difficulty.'*. And, I 

think, it is more for the honour of the devotion of 

our kings, that, not having been able to do what 

they would, tliey have made a show of being willing 

to do what they.coukl ^ 


That zve taste nothing Pure. 

Tbere u no j^Q wcak is our condition, that things cannot fall 

D?encV into our use in their natural simplicity and purity ; 

^ejj""' '•" the elements that we enjoy are changed, even mc- 

nicncJr tals fhemsclves ; and gold must be debased, by some 

alloy, to fit it for our service. Neither has virtue, 

so simple as that which Aristo, Pyrrho, and also the 

Stoics have made the principal end of life : nor the 

Cyrenaic and Aristippic pleasure been useful to it 

without a mixture. Of the pleasiu'e and goods tijat 


\re enjoy, th^re h' not one exempt frOm some t(ux» 
tore of evil and inconvenience : 

— '• — Medio de fante leporumj 
Surgii amari aliquid, quod in ipsis paribus ongai.* 

' Something that's hitter will arise. 
Even amidst our jollitie?. 

Our greatest pleasure has some air of groaning and 
complaining in it ; would you not say, that it is dy- 
ing of anguish ? Nay, when we forge the image of 
it, in its excellency, we paint it with sickly and 
painful epithets, languor, softness, feebleness, faints 
ness, morbidez^a, a great testimony of their con- 
sanguinity and consubstantiality. Excessive joy has 
more of severity than gaiety in it ; the fullest con- 
tentment, more of the sedate than of the mernr. 
Ipsa felicitaSj se nisi temperate premit ;t " Even fe- 
f' licity, unless it moderates itself, oppresseth." Plea- 
sure preys upon us, according to the old Greek 
yerse,t which says, ** That the gods sell us all the 
?* good they give us ;" that is to say, that they give 
us nothing piTre and perfect, and which we do not 
purchase but at the price of some evil. 

Labour and pleasure, very unlike in nature, asso- p*'" «>« 
date, nevertheless, by I know not what natural con- j^ofo^Tt 
junction, Socrates says, "That some god tried to o"« •"<*»• 
** mix in one mass, and to confound pain and plea- f,^n^ 
^' sure, but not being able to do it, he bethought »»nchojjr* 
" him at least to couple them by the tail."|| Me- 
trodorus said, ** That in sorrow there is some mix- 
," ture of plcasure."§ I know not whether he in- 
tended any thing else by that saying ; but, for my 
part, I am of opinion, that there is design, consent, 

♦ Lucret. lib. iv. ver. 1126. f Senec. ep. 74. 

Epicharmus apud Xeno{)hon. lib. xi. cr«/uM9|MPw/*« 
II In Plato's dialogue, entitled Phedon, p. 376. 
\ Metrodorus, Senec. ep. 99. 


and complacency in giving a man's self up to mdaff* 
choly ; 1 say, that, l^des ambition, which may also 
have a strolce in the busiiiess, there is some sliadovr 
of delight and delicacy, which smiles upon, and flat- 
ters us, even in the very lap of n^elanoholy. Are 
there not some complexions th»t feed upop it i 

-*—— Est qtuedamjlere vobipias.* 
A certaia kind ef pleasure 'tis to weep* 

And one Attains, in Seneca, sa^s, ^ That the me^ 
^ mory of our deceased friends is asi graceful to us 
^ as me bitterness in the wine, very old, is to the 
*^ palate,t 

Minister vetulis puer Ftikmi 
Jngere mi calices amariares.X 

Thou boy that fiil'st the old Falernfen win^ 
The bltt'iest pour into the bowl that's mine. . 

<' and as apples that have a sweet tartness/' Nature 
discovers this confusion to us. Painters hold, 
^^ That the same motipns and screwings of the face 
^ that serve for weeping, serve for laughter too ;*' 
and indeed, before the one or the other be finished, 
do but observe the painters' conduct, and you will 
be in doubt to which of the two the design does 
tend ; and the extremity of laughter is mixed with 
tears : Nullum sine auctoramento malum est ;1| ^* No 
** evil is without its compensation.*' 
Constant Whcu I imagine man surrounded with all the con« 
w/'JI?^*'^' veniences that are to be desired, let us put the case, 
sure not to that all his members were always seized with a plea- 
by^T sure like that of generation m its most excessive 
height ; I fancy him melting under the weight of 
his delight, and see him utterly unable to support so 
pure, so continual, and so universal a pleasure ; in- 
deed he is running away whilst he is there, and na^ 

* Ovid. Triat. el. 8, ver. S7. f Scnec. cpist. 63^ 

% CatuL epist. 25, ver; 1, 2« Q Senec. epist. e^ 


turaDy makes hute to ewape, as from a place where 
t^ cannot stan4 firm^ anid where he is afraid of sink* 

When I r^U^uslf oon^s Aiyself, I find lliat theMomigoo^ 
best good quditr I have has in it some tincture of*"^^*;;"^ 
vice ; and am anaid that Hato, in his purest virtue cd ianaii* 
^I, who am as sinioere and perfect a lover of him» 
^nd of the virtues of that stamp, as any other what- 
4ever), if he laid his ear close to himself (and he did 
iM>), he wotild Have heard some janing sound of hu^ 
man mixture, but so obscure as only to be perceived 
by hiriiself ; man is wholly and throughout but a 
patched and motley composition. 

Even the laws of justice themselves cannot sub-Tbejustcrt 
sist without some mi&ture of injustice; insomuch J^^^^J^T^^ 
that Plato says, ♦* They undertake to cut off the tare of ii#- 
f^ Hydra's head, who pretend to purge the laws ofj"*^*^*" 
^' all inconvenience/' . Omne magnum exemplum 
habet aliquid ex inii/uOj quod contra singtdos utilitate 
publicA rependitur :^ " Every OTeat example of ju&- 
^^ tiee has in it some mixture of injustice, which re- 
^^ compenses the wrong done to particular men, by 
** its public utility,** says Tacitus. 

it is likewise true, that for the business of life, comno* 
pnd the service of public commerce, there may be^i^n^Tnc 
aome excesses in the purity and perspicacity of our «««* p"j- 
odind; that penetrating light has too much o£ sub^^fi^^t!^* 
tiety and curiosity ; it must be a little stupified and ^'»^ ^« 
bjiinted, to be rendered more obedient to example "^'^ 
land practice; and a little veiled and obscured, to 
bear the better proportion to this dark and terres- 
trial life ; and y^t common and less speculative 
souls are found to be more proper, and more suc- 
cessful in the management of affairs ; and the ele- 
vated and exquisite opinions of philosophy are unfit 
for business ; this acute vivacity of the mind, and 
^e supple aai4 restless volubility of it, disturb our 

* Tacit Annal. lib. xi?» 


negotiations ; we are to manage human, enterprises 
more superficially and roughly, and leave a great 
part to the determination of rortune. It is not ne- 
cessary to examine afiairs with so much subtlety, 
and so deeply ; a man loses himself in the conside- 
ration of so many lustres, and various forms. Vb^ 
luntantibus res inter se pugnantes^ obtarpuerenl ani^ 
mi ;* ** Whilst they considered of things so ineon- 
♦' sistent in themselves, they were astonished.*' It 
is what the ancients say of Simonide^t " That by 
*' reason his imagination suggested to him, upon 
f ^ the question Jdng Hiero 1^ put to him (to an- 
** swer which he had many days to consider it) seve- 
^^ ral witty and subtle arguments, whilst he doubted 
*^ which was the most likely, he totally despaired 
^> of the truth." He that dives into, and in his in- 
quisition comprehends all circumstances and conse- 
quences, hinders his choice; a little engine, weH 
handled, is sufficient for executions of less or 
greater weight and moment ; the best managers are 
those who are least able to tell us why they are so ; 
and the greatest talkers, for the most part, do no^ 
thing to the purpose. I know one of this sort of 
men, and a most excellent manager in* theory, who 
has miserably let an hundred thousand livres yearly 
revenue slip through his hands* I know another 
who says, that he is able to give better advice than 
any of his council ; and there is not, in the world, 
a rairer show of a soul, and of a good understanding, 
than he has ; nevertheless, when he comes to the 
test, his servants find him quite pother thing ; not 
to bring his misfortune into the account. 

• Livy, lib. xxxii. caj). 20. 

f King Hiero had desired define what God was. Cic. de 
Nat Deor. lib. i. cap. 22. ' 



Against Sloth. 

J. HE emperor Vespasian, being sick of the disease lo wiiai 
whereof he died, did not, for all that, neglect to in-p^^^» 
4}uire after the state of the empire, and, even in Vi^tm 
bed, continually dispatched afiairs of great conse-^'^* 
quence ; for which being reproved by his physician, 
as a thing prejudicial to his nealth, *^ An emperor,*' 
said he, ^^ must die standing/'* A tine saying, in 
my opinion, and worthy of a great prince. The em- 
peror Adrian afterwards made use of one to the 
same purpose ;t and should be often put in mind of 
it, to make them know that the great office confer- 
red upon them of the command of so many men is 
not an idle employment ; and that there is nothing 
can so justly disgust a subject, and make him un- 
willing to expose himself to labour and danger for 
the service of his prince, than to see him in the 
mean time devoted to his ease, and to vain and un- 
manly amusements ; nor will the subject be solicitous 
of his prince's preservation who so much neglects 
that or his people. 

Whoever ofiers to maintain that it is better for aHeoogiit 
prince to carry on his wars by others than in his own**^ ^y;- 
person, &rtune will furnish him with examples ^letia 
enough of those whose lieutenants have brought p*"*"- 
great enterprises to a happy issue, and of those also 
whose presence has done more hurt than good. But 
no virtuous and valiant prince can bear to be tutored 
with such scandalous lessons ; under colour of saving 
his head, like the statue of a saint, for the happiness 
of his kingdom, they degrade him from, and make 

* Suetonius in Vemasian. sect. xxiv. 
- f lEL Spartianl mlius Verus, sect. zvi. Hist. Augusts 

him incapable of, bis office, which is militaiy 
throughout. I know one who had much rather be 
beaten than sleep whilst aliother %hts for him, and 
who never, without envy, heard of any brave thing 
done even by his own officers in his absence ; and 
Selima the first said, with very good reason in my 
Opinion, ^^ That victories obtdined without the so* 
** vereigns were never complete.** Much more rea- 
dily would he have said, that that sovereign ought to 
blush for shame to pretend to any share in it, when 
he had contributed nothing to it but his Voice and 
thought ; nor even so much as those, coMldbring; 
that in such works the direction and coitattiafld that 
deserve honour are only such as at'e ^veu upotf the 
place, and in the heat of the business, wo pilot 
performs his office by standing still. The princes of 
the Ottoman family, the chief in the world of iftili- 
tary fortune, have warmly embraced this opinion j 
and Bajazet the second, with his sott that swerv^ed 
from it, spending their time in the sciences, and 
other employments within doors, gave great blOws 
to their empire ; and Amurath the third, now 
reigning, following their example, begins to do the 
same. Was it not Edward the third, king of Eng- 
land, who said this of our king Charles the fifth ? 
*' There never was king so seldom put on his anns, 
" and jet never king who cut me out so ^much- 
** Work.** He might well' think it strange, as atl 
effect of change more than of reason ; and let those 
seek out some other advocate for them than me, 
Who will reckon the kings of Castile and Portugal 
amongst the warlike and magnanimous conquerors, 
because, at the distance of twelve hundred leagues 
ftom their lazy residence, by the conduct of tticir 
agents, they made themselves masters of both In- 
dies ; which it is a question if they had but the cou- 
rage to go and enjoy them. 
Tbeacti^ The emoeror Julian said yet ferther, " That a 
blSty'MT** philosopner and a brave man ought not so mucU 

^^ a» to breathe ;^' this is to say, not to allow anyquinteia 
imMre to bodily necessities than what we cannot re-^'^*^*^ 
fiise, ^^ Keeping the soul and body still intent and * 
*^ busy idbout things honourable, great, and vir« 
*^ tuous ;'^ he was ashamed if any one in public saw 
him spit or sweat (which is said oy some also of the 
Lace(temoniaii young men, and which. Xenophon 
says of the Persian), because he conceived, that exer* 
cise, continual labour, and sobriety, ought to have 
dried up all those superfluities. What Seneca says 
will not be unfit for this place, which is, ^^ That 
^^ the ancient Romans kept their youth always 
^^ stianding, and taUght them nothing tnat they were 
*' to learn, sitting." ♦ 

It is a generous desire to wish to die usefully, andThedesin 
likte a mart j but the effect lies not so much m ourf J2,j"*- 
resalution as in our good fortune. A thousaiUd have ^'>< <« 
prqpjobed to themsdves in battle either to conquer !£oo|h^& 
or die, who have failed both in the one and the^^^'^sb^ 
<fthef ; wounds and imprisonment crossing their de-powrr?**' 
sign, and compelling them to live against their wills. 
l%ere are diseases that obliterate even our desires 
and our knowledge. Fortune was not obliged to se- 
cond the vanity of the Roman legions, who bound 
themselves, by oath, " either to overcome or die.** 
Victory Marce Fabij revertar tx acie ; si fallo^ 
J&oem patrem gradivumque Martem^ aliosque iratos 
ifwoco deas ;t "I will return (Marcus Fabms) a con- 
^^ queror from the army ; and, if I fail, I widi ^e 
^ indignation of Jove, Mars, and the other offended 
^^ gods, may light upon me." The Portuguese 
say, ^^ That in a certain place of their conquest of 
^^ the Indies, they met with soldiers who had^amned 
^^ themselves, with horrible execrations, to- enter 
^^ into no composition, but either to kill or be kill«. 
^^ ed; and had their heads and beards shaved in 
^^ token of this vow." It is to much purpose to 
hazard ourselves, and to be obstinate ; it seems as 

f Senec ep. 88. f "^'^^ I^v. lib. ii. cap. 45. 

884 AGAINST sloth; 

if blows avoid those that present themselves « tod 
briskly to danger ; and do not readily fall upon those 
who too willingly seek them, and so defeat their de- 
sign. There was one, who had tried all way 9, and 
could not obtain dying by the hand of the enemy, 
was constrained, in order to make good his resolu- 
tion of bringing home victory, or of losing his life, to 
kill himself, even in the heat of battle. Among 
other examples, this is one : ^' Philistus, general of 
*• the naval army of Dionysius the younger, against 
** the Syracusans, presented them battle, which was 
** sharply disputed, their forces being equal. In 
** which engagement he had the better at first, 
** through his valour : but the Syracusans. surround- 
** ed his galley, afler he had, with great feats of 
*• arms,*' tried to disengage himself, and hoping for 
** no relief, with his own hand he took away that 
** life he had so liberally, but in vain, exposed to the 
*' enemy." 
Theintre. " Mulcy Moluck, king of Fez, who, anno 1578^ 
fyof^Mu!''" won the battle against Sebastian, king of Portugal, 
ley Mo- *« so famous for the death of three Imigs, and the 
of Fcz'"fn" translation of that great kingdom to the crown of 
a battle/ «t Castilc, was extremely sick when the Portuguese 
di^'con! " entered, in a hostile manner, into his dominions : 

SiTpo"^ " ^^^» ^^^^ *^** ^^y ^'^^^^^9 grew worse and 
gueui^ °" '* worse, still drawing nearer to, and forseeing, hia 
" end : yet never did man employ himsdf more vi- 
" gorously and braviely, than he did upon this occa- 
^* sion. He found himself too weak to undergo the 
** pomp and ceremony of entering into his camp, 
" which, afler their manner, is very magnificent, 
" and full of bustle ; and therefore resigned that 
** hcwour to his brother: but the office of a general 
" was all that he resigned ; all the rest of utility and 
*^ necessity, he most exactly and gloriously pertorm- 
*? ed : his body lying upon a couch, but his judg- 
^^ ment and courage upright and firm to his last 

* Plutarch, in the I^« of Bioo, cap, 8. 


♦^ gasp^ and, in some sort, beyond it : he might have 
" wasted his enemy, who was indiscreetly advanced 
** into his dominions, witliout striking a blow ; and 
^' it was very grievous to his heart, that, for want of 
** a little life, or somebody to substitute in the con- 
** duct of this war,* and of the affairs of a troubled 
" state, he found himself compelled to seek a doubt- 
** ful and bloody victory, when he had another, bet- 
** ter and surer, already in his power : vet he won- 
** derfiilly managed the continuance of his sickness, 
** in wasting the enemy, and in drawing them from 
** the naval army, and the sea-ports in the coast of 
** Africa, even till the last day of his life, which he 
** designedly reserved for this great battle^ He 
*' formed the main battle in a circle, environing the 
** Portugal army on every side ; which circle, com- 
** ing to draw up close together, did not only hinder 
** them in the conflict (which was very sharpi 
" through the valour of the young invading kmg), con- 
" sidering they were every way to make a front; but 
** also prevented their flight, after the defeat ; so that, 
** finding all passages possessed and shut up, they were 
** constrained to dose up together again ; coacervan-- 
«< turque non solem ccedcy sed etiam fuga ; and there 
•* they who stood, and they who ffed, were slain in 
** heaps upon one another, leaving to the conqueror 
" a very bloody an4 entire victory. As he was dy- 
" ing, he caused himself to be carried and liur- . 
" ried from place to place, where most need was; 
*^ and, passing through the files, encouraged the cap- 
" tains and smdiers one after another. But, a cor- 
** ner^of his main battle being broke, he was not to 
*' be restrained from mounting on horseback, sword 
" in hand. He did his utmost to break from thossP 
" about him, and to rush into the thickest of the 
" battle, they all the while stopping himi some by 
** the bridle, some by his robe, and others by his 
" stirrups. This last effort totally deprived him of 

-* Thuanus, Hist. lib. Ixv. p. 248, the Geneva edition^ in 172(X. i 

^^ tHelittleliiTehe had left; they again laidhimtipoh his] 
^^ couch, but, coming to hin^lf again, he started, as it 
** were, put oif his swoon, all other faculties failing,, to 
** ^ve his people notice, that they were to concealhis 
^* death (the most necessary con^mand he bad then to 
^^ give, that his soldiers might not be discourajged with 
^* the liews), he expired with liis finger uj[K)n his 
^ mouth, the ordinary signal for keeping silence."* 
Who ever lived so long and so far in death ? Who 
ever died more like a man ? The most natural de- 
gree of entertaining death, is. to look upon it, no^ 
only without astonishment^ but ifithput care, con- 
tinuing the jwonted course of lifb even into it ; as 
Cato md, who entertained himself in study, and went 
to sleep, haviujc; a violent and blbody design upon 
himself* in his heai% and the weapon in his hattdto 
execute it. 


Of Posts, 

I HAVE been none of the least afele in this exer- 
cise, which is proper for men of my pitch, wetiset 
and short } but I give it over, it shakes us too niuch 
^05t faenei to co^tinup long. I was just now reading, " That 
*"* «Jjjp ^ king Cyrus, me better to have news brought him 
^ ^""' ** from all parts of the emijire, wMch was of a vast 
** extent, caused it to be triea, how far a horse could 
•* go in a day, before he baited ; and at that distance 
^ apj^ointed men whose business it was to have 
•* horses always in readiness to accommodate 6iose 
^ who were msj^atched away to him.'*t And some 
say, that this swift way of travelling is equal to the 
JBight of cranes* 

* Tkfiaifufljjib. v., p. 248, observes, that it was said tibarles of 
^urlxm gave the siame signal when he was expiring at the fboc of 
the walk of Rome, which his troops took by storm, just after hir 
4e«th4 .' : / ^. . . .. 

t Xenophoa's Cjropoedia^ lib. viii« cap. 6, sect* 9* 

dp pdsfSi 387 

C*sar SAyd, " That Lucius Vibulus ftufus,* being They wcr© 
** in great naste to carry intelligence to Pompey, JfJ^i^**** 
** rid day and night, often taking fresh horses for the 
** greater speed ;'* arid " Himself/'t as Suetonius re- 
jports, " travelled a hundred miles a day in a hired 
** coach ; but he was a furious courier, for, where 
** rivers stopped his way, he always passed them by 
^ swimming, without turning out of nis way to look 
** for either bridge or ford." Tiberius Nero, going 
to see his brother Drusus,t who was sick in Germany, 
travelled two hundred miles in four and twenty hours, 
havingthreecoacITesr In the war ofthe Romans against 
king Aiitiochus, T. Sempronius Gracchus, says Livy, 
Per dispositos equos proph incredibitii celeritato ab 
Amphissd tertio me Pellam pervenit ;§ " By horses 
** purposely laid oii the road, he rode with almost in- 
** credible speed, in three days, from Amphissa to 
** Pella,** And it appears there, that they were esta- 
blished posts, and not just ordered for this occasion. 

Cecinna's invention, to send back news to his fami- ^"^f^^^ 
ly, was performed with much more speed, for *^ Hegwng' 
•** took swallows along with him from home, and^"^'*^^^^ 
•" turned them out towards their nests, when he tew? *^ * 
** would send back any news; setting a mark of 
** some colour upon tnem to signify his meaning, 
** according to what he and his people had before 
** agreed upon/'ll At the theatre at Kome, masters 
of ^milies carried pigeons in their bosoms, to which 
they tied letters, when they had a mind to send any 
orders to their people at home ; and the pigeons 
^ Were trained up to bring back an answer. D. Bru- 
tus^ made use ofthe same device, when besieged in 
Multina ; and others elsewhere have done the same. 

In Peru, they rode post upon men's shoulders, who How they 
took them up in a kind of litter, and ran with fuUp^i^Jfi** 


* De BeQo Civili, lib. iii. cap. 4. f In Cesare, sect 57. 

X Plin. Nat HisL lib. vii. cap.* 20. J Tit. Liv. lib. xxxvii. cap.?. 

I Flin. Nat. Ui«t. lib. x. cap. 24. , f Idem, ibid. cap. S7. 

2 c 2 


speed, the first bearers throwing their load to the 
second, without making any stop; and so on. 

I understand, that the Walachians, who are the 
grand seignior's couriers, perform wonderful joiur- 
nies, by reason they have liberty to dismount the 
first horseman they meet on the road, giving him 
their own tired horse: to keep themselves alert, 
they gird themselves tight about the middle with a 
broad belt, as many others do ; but I could never 
find any advantge by it. 


. Of ill Meam employed to a good End. 

. ........ i. HERE is a wonderful relation and correspon- 

rtaiessnb. dcncc iu this universal system of the works of na- 
'I^e acci- ture, which makes it plainly appear, that it is nei- 
^^^ ^^^ ther accidental,^ nor earned on by diverse masters. 
tMKiy. The diseases and conditions of our bodies are also 
manifest in states, and governments of the world : 
kingdoms and republics rise, flourish, and decay with 
age, as we do. We are subject to a repletion of hu- 
mom's that are useless and dangerous, either of those 
that are good, for even those the physicians are afraid 
of: and since we have nothing m us that is stable, 
they say, " That a true brisk and vigorous perfection 
" of health must be lowered and abated by art, lest, 
*' as our nature cannot rest in any certain situation, 
** and has not whither to rise to mend itself^ it should 
** make too sudden and too disorderly a retreat j** 
and therefore they prescribe to wrestlers to purge and 
bleed, to take down that superabundant health ; ** Or 
** else a repletion of evil humours, which is the or- 
** dinar^ cause of maladies." States are very often 

* * Plin. Nat. Hist. cap. 37- 


Siclc of the like repletion, and therefore diverse sorts 
of purgations have commonly been used. Sometimes 
a^reat multitude of families are turned out to clear 
the country, who seek out new abodes elsewhere, 
or live upon others. After this manner our ancient 
Francs came from the heart of Germany, seized upon 
Gaul, and drove thence the first inhabitants ; so was 
that infinite deluge of men formed, that came into 
Italy under the conduct of Brennus, and others : so 
the Goths and Vandals, also the people who now 
possess Greece,. left their native country, to go and 
settle abroad, where thev might have more room ; and 
tliere are scarce two or three little corners of the world, 
that have not felt the effect of such removals. The 
Romans, by this means, erected their colonies ; for, 
perceiving the city to increase beyond measure, they 
eased it of the most unnecessaiy people, and sent 
them to inhabit and cultivate the land which they 
had conquered. 

Sometimes also they purposely fomented wars with ^^ 
some of their enemies, not only to keep their men in cbme to 
laction, lest idleness, the mother of corruption, should ' 
bring some worse inconvenience upon them, 

Et patimur longre pacts mala, scRvior armis 
Luxiaria incubuitj viclumque ulciscitur orbemJ^ 

For luxury has introduce such harms, 
As take revenge for our victorious arms. 

but dso to serve for a blood-letting to their republic, 
and a little to exhale the too vehement heat of their 
youth, to prune and clear the branches from the loo 
luxuriant trunk ; and to this end it was, that they 
formerly maintained so long a war with Carthage. 

In the treaty with Brittany, Edward the third, Poiuic» of 
king of England, would not, in the general peace he hl wnr 
then made with our king, comprehend the contro-ofEog. 
•versy about the duchy of Brittany,t that he might **"^' 
have a place wherein to discharge himself of his aol- 

^ Juv. sat. vi. vcr. 1 93/ f Froissart, vol. I cap. Sl&^ 



diers; and that the vast number of English hie hdii 
brought over to serve him in that expedition, might 
not return back into England. And this was also 
one reason why our king Philip consented to send 
his son John on the expedition beyond sea, that he 
inight take alonjg with nim a great number of hotTl 
brained young fellows, that were then in his troops. J 
The ntiiity In OUT times, there are many who talk at this rate, 
reica war. wishing that this hot commotion now amongst U3, 
might discharge itself in some neighbouring war, lest 
the pec&ant humours which pow reign in the politic 
body, if not difiused farther, shoidd keep the fever 
still raging, and end in our total ruip ; and, in truth, a 
foreign is much more supportable than a civil war % 
but I do not believe, that God wiU favpur so unjust 
a design, as to offend and quarrel with others fqr ou^* 
own advantage ; 

NU mihi iam va^e flaceatf Rhamnusia vtrgo. 
Quod iemere invitis suspiciafur herisfi 

In unjust war, ag^nst another's right. 
Fox ^e of plunder, may I ne'er delight. 

Men forced 

h? Yet the weakness of our condition oflen puts us 

for ilnder the necessity of making use of ill means to a 

iMki old.* g^^^ ^"d* Lycurgus, the most virtuous and perfect 

legislator that ever was, invented this unjust pracr 

tice of making " The Helotes, who were their slaves, 

drunk by ^rce, and so doing to teach lus people 

temper^ce, and an aversion to drunkenness.'*t 

Yet thejr were more to blame, who, of old, gave leave 

that cnminals,t to what sort of death soever they 

were condemned, should be dissected alive by the 

physicians, that t;hey might view our inward parts 

before death, and thereby build their art upon great? 

er certainty. For, if we must run into excesses, it i^ 

* CatuL Canxi. 60» Ter. 78. 
^ t Plutarghy in the Life of Lycurgus, chap. 21 of Amyot*8 trandat 

t This is reported by Celsus, who does not disapprove it. 4. 
Com. Celsi Medicina iti Prcefat. p. 7, edit, Th, I, ab AhQeloven, 
Arost. 171S, ' ' ^ : 


j»ore excusable to do it for the health of the soul^ 
than that of the body ; as the Romans trained up th6 
people to valour,' and the contempt of dangfers and 
death, by those fiirtous spectacles of gladiators and 
fencers, who fought it out till the last, cut, and killed 
ane another in their presence : 

emd vesam aliud sibi mdt ars impia ludi^ 
aid mortesjuvenum, qtdd sanguine pasta volupias f* 

Of such inhuman sports what farther use } 
What pleasure can the blood (rf* men produce? 

And this custom continued till the empejror Theodo* 

Arripe dilatom iuOy dux, in iemporafamam, 
Quoaque patris sto^^ 

NuUus in urbe caaat, cujus sit pCBna vohtptas. 
Jam salts contehtafem mfamis arena. 

Nulla cruentafis homicidta ktudat hi €ninis.f 

) ■ [ 

Prince, take tlie honours destined for thy reign. 
Inherit of thy iather what remain,'' 
Henceforth let none at Rome for sport, be slaip. 
Let none but beasb' blood stain the theatre. 
And no niore homicides be acted tlieic^. 

It was, in truth, a wonderful example, an^ of very 
great advantage for the instruction of the people, to 
see every day before their eyes a hundred, two hun^ 
dred, nay, a thousand couples of men armed against 
one another, cut one another to pieces with such in- 
trepidity, that they were never heard to utter so 
inuch as one syllable of weakness or commisera* 
tion; never seen to turn back, nor so much as to 
make one cowardly motion to evade a blow, but ra-^ 
ther exposed their necks to the adversaries* sword, 
and presented themselves to receive the stroke. And 
many of them, when niortally wounded, have sent to 
^k the spectators, " If they were satisfied with their 
" behaviour ?** and then lay down to give up the 
ghost upon the place. It was not enough for them 
to fight and die bravely, but cheerfully too} ii\so« 

* Prudent, lib. ult. vcr. 649. f Idem, ibid. 


much that they were hissed and cursed, if they made 
an^ dispute about receiving their death. Tne very 
maids txiemselves egged them on : 

— Consurgit ad ictus : 
Et (fuoiifis victor ferrumjugido inseritj ilia 
Deltdas ait esse suas^ pectusqye jacentis 
Virgo modestajubet consei-vo pollice rumpi.* 

The modest virgin is delighted so 
With the fell sport, that ^e applauds the blow ; 
And when the victor bathes his bloody hand 
In*s fellow's throat, and lays him on the sand ; 
, Then she's most pleas'd, and shows^ hy sign^ she'd fain 
Have him rip up the bosom of the slam. 

The ancient Romans employed criminals in this les- 
son ; but they afterwards employed innocent slaves 
in the w:ork, and even freemen too, who sold them- 
selves to this . effect ; nay, moreover, senators and 
knights of Rome } and also women : . 

Nunc caput in mortem vendunt, etfunus arena j 
Atque hostem siln quisque parat cum bella quiescunt.f 

They sell themselves to death, and, since the wars 
Are oeas'd^ each for himself a foe prepares. 

Has interjremitusy novosque lusus 
Stat sexus rudisy imciusquejerriy 
Et pugnas capit improbus virile^.X 

Amidst these tumults and alarms. 
The tender sex, unskill'd in arms^ 
Challenged each other to engage, 
And fought, as men, with equal rage. 

Which I would think strange and incredible, were 
we not accustomed everyday to see, in oiu* own wars,§ 
many thousands of men, of other nations, staking J^ 
their blood and their lives for money, often in quar-^ ' . 
rels wherein they have no manner of concern. vi " 

* Prudent, lib. ult. ver. 617. f Manil. Astron. lib. iv. v. 225, 226. 

t Stetius, Svl. 6, lib. i. ver. 52, 53, .54'. 

i Witness the Swiss, who, though a£ the same country, and per- 
haps of the same family, serve ope against another for pay, in th^ air« 
SBies of France, Holland, &<;• 



Of the Roman Grandeur. 

1 WILL only say a word or two of this extensive 
subject, to show the simplicity of those who com- 
-pare the pitiful grandeur of these times to that of 
kome. In the seventh book of Cicero's Familiar 
Epistles (but let the grammarians expunge the sur- 
name of Familiar, if they please, for, in truth, it is 
not very proper ; and they who, instead of Familiar^ 
bave substituted adfamiliaresj may gather something 
to justify them for so doing, out of what Suetonius 
says, in the life of Caesar, " That he had a volume 
" of letters of his, ad familiar es^^ )j there is one di- 
rected to Caosar, being then in Gaid, wherein Cicero 
repeats diese words, which were in the end of ano- 
ther letter that Caesar had wrote to him : *' As for 
" Marcus Furius, whom you have recommended to 
" me, I will make him king of Gaul ; and, if you 
" would have me advance any other friend of yours, 
" send him to me/** It was no new thing for a; 
mere citizen of Rome, as Csesar then was, to dis- 

?ose of kingdoms ; for he took away that of king 
)eiotarus from him, to give it to a gentleman of the 
city of Pergamus, called Mithridates.t They who 
wrote his life, record several cities sold by him j and 
Suetonius says, ^* That he had, at once, from king 
*^ Ptolemy, near six thousand talents, or three mil- 
^^ lions and six hundred thousand crowns," which 
was almost the same as selling him his own kingdom ; 

Tot GaUitcBt tot PcmitiSy tot Lydia nitmmis^X 
Such sums of money did he raise^ as these. 
From Ponlus, Lydia, and the Gadates. 

* Lib. vii, ep. 5. Ciceronis Ccesari imper, 
+ Cic. de Divinat, lib. ii. cap. 37. 
J Claud, in Eutrop. lib. i. cap, 203. 

^94 OF THE ,RO|lAN 6|tAND£0R« 

A great Mark Anthony said, " That the grandeur of the 
prived^r ** people of Kome was not so much seen in what 
hiicon- « they tool^, as in what they gave.*** Yet, many 
•"irtui'^f years before Anthony, they had dethroned one 
J[^ **>« amongst the rest with so wonderful authority, that, 
^ man "^ ||| ^ ^he Roiuaq history, I have not observed any 
^ing that more denotes the height of their power. 
Antiochus possessed all Egypt, and was, moreover, 
ready to con^juer Cyprus, nod other appendices of 
that empire ; when, being upon the progress of his 
victories, C. Popilius came to him from the Senate, 
and, a;t their first meeting, refused to take him by 
the hand, till he had read his letters, whiph after 
fhe kjn^ had perysed, and told him, he would con- 
sider o/them, Popilius made a circle about him with 
the stick he had ip his hand, saying, .^^ Return me 
^^ an answer, that I may carry it back to the senate, 
♦* before thou stirrest out of this circle/*t Antio^ 
chus, astonished at the roughness of so urgent a 
conimand, after a little pause, replied, ^ I will obey 
^^ the senate's command ;'* and then it was th^t Po- 
pilius saluted him as a friend to the people of Rome. 
After having quitted claim to so great a monarchy, 
and in such a torrent of succesmd fortune, upoq 
three wprds in writing ; in earnest ha had reason, as 
he did, to send the senate word, by his ambassadors, 
" That he had received their order with the same 
^^ respect, as if it had arrived frop the immortaJi 
<^ goos.i 
Why the AU the kingdoins that Auj^stus gained by the 
^'^^^•j^ right of conquest, he either restored to those who 
cMqaered Jbtad lost them, or presented them to strangers. An^ 
fi^^cT Tacitus, in reference to this, speaking of Cogidunus, 
owners, king of England, gives us a woi^de^ul instance of 
that infinite power : " The Romans,*' says he, 
<' were, from all antiquity, ^cqustomed to leave the 
" kings they had spbduied, in possession of their 

♦ Plutarch, in the Life of Anthony, cap. 8. 

f Tit. LiT. lib. xiv. cap, 12. i Idem, ibid.'pitp. 23. 


{^ kiqgdom under their authority, that they might 
^* have even kings to be their slaves :*' Ut habereni 
instrumenta servitutis et regesJ^ It is likely, thai 
Solyman, whom we have seen make a gift of Hua« 
gary, and other principalities, had therein more re« 
spect to this consideration, than to that he was wont to 
allege, viz. *^ That he was glutted and overcharged 
^^ with so many monarchies, and so much dominion, 
^^ as his own valour, or thai; of his ancestors, had 
^* acquired.-' 


Not to counterfeit Sickness. 

X HERE is a choipe epigram in Martial, for he hasf Gout 
of all sorts, where he pleasantly tells the story of|^*^^ 
Caelius, who, to avoid making his court to somesont. 
great men of Rpme, to go to their levee, and to at- 
tend them abroad, pretended to have the gout ; and 
the better to Qolour it, anointed his legs, had them 
swathed up, and perfectly counterfeited both the 
gesture and countenance of a gouty person ; till, in 
the end, fortune did him the kindness to jgive him 
the gout in parnest': . 

Timtum aura potest et ars doloris, 
Desiitfingere Cmlius podagram.\ 

So much has counterfeitiog brought about, 
Ctelius has ceasM to counterfeit die gout* 

I think I have read, somewhere in Appian, a instance of 
story like this, of one who, ta escape the proscrip-?^^^''^ 
tions of the triumviri of Rome, ai^d the better to bereaiiybiina 
concealed from the discovery of those who pursued ij^^^^/^'j 

* Tit. Liv. in VitA Julii Agricolae. 
j* Mart epjg. 38, Ub. vii, ^er. 8} 9* 


cooDtfr- him, having masked himself in a disguise, did also 
felted it. j^jj this invention, " To counterfeit having but one 
^ eye ; but, when he came to have a little more li- 
•* berty, and went to take off the plaster he had a 
^ great while worn over his eye, he found he had 
•* totally lost the sight of it." It is possible, that 
the action of sight was dulled, for having been so 
long without exercise, and that the optic power was 
wholly retired into the other eye : for we evidently 
perceive, that the eye we keep shut, sends some 
part of its virtue to its fellow, which therebpr swells 
and grows bigger ; moreover, the sitting still, with 
the heat of the ligatures and plasters, might very 
well have brought some gouty humour upon this 
dissembler in Martial. 
Eidicttioat Reading, in Froissard,* the vow of a company of 
young e"/. young Euglish gallants, « To carry their left eyes 
liih^. «< bound up till they were arrived in France, and 
**'**^ •* had performed some notable exploit against 
•' us :** 1 have often been tickled with the conceit 
of its befalling them as it did the before-named Ro- 
man, and that they found they had but one eye 
a-piece when they returned to their mistresses, for 
whose sakes they had entered into this ridiculous 
itiipro- Mothers have reason to rebuke their children, 
Jcr chu **" ^^^^ ^^^y counterfeit having but one eye, squint- 
drenVom iug, lamcucss, or Other such personal defects ; for, 
couater- bcsidcs that their bodies^ being then so tender, may 

feitior per- , -. . -ii^*^/* -r t ^ 

sonai de- bc subjcct to take an ill bent, fortune, I know not 
^^^' how, sometimes seems to delight to take us at our 
word ; and I have heard several instances of people 
who have become really sick, by only fe^ning to be 
so. I have always used, whether on horseback, or 
on foot, to carry a stick in my hand, and so as to 
affect doing it with a grace. Many have thre^ten^^ 
me, that this affected hobbling would, one day, ba 

*Voy.i. chap.29. 


turned into necessity, that is, ^' That I should be 
*' the first of my family to have the gout/* 

But let us lengthen tliis chapter, and eke it out lostencc of 
"mth another piece, concerning blindness. Pliny ^^^"p'j!*^" 
reports of one, " That dreaming he was blind, founded of sight 
" nimself so next day, without any preceding ma^'°**"**^^' 
*' lady."* The force of imagination might assist in 
this case, as I have skid elsewhere, and Pliny seems 
to be of the same opinion ; but it is more likdy, that 
the motions the body felt within (whereof the phy- 
sicians, if they please, may find put the cause), which 
took away his sight, were the occasion of his 

Let us add another story, of mtich the same na- a roorisii 
ture, which Seneca relates, in one of his epistles. t^JU*^"^ 
*' You know,'* says he, writing to Lucillius, " thatbUod, 
" Harpaste, my wife's fool, is thrown upon my fa- ^U;^'*,^*^!** 
*' mily as an hereditary charge, for I have naturally bou»e the . 
" an aversion to those monsters ; and, if I have a\'hiJjfi/"^„, 
ind to laugh at a fool, I need not seek him far, too dark{ 
can laugh at ray self/ This fool has suddenly wa^J^^r 
" lost her sight : I can tell you a strange, but a very »«* ™* "'^ 
*' true thing ; she is not sensible that she is blind, ** ^' 
*' but eternally importunes her keeper to take her 
" abroad, because she says my house is dark : but, 
** believe ' me, that what we laugh at in her, 
" happens to every one of us : no one knows him- 
■•' sell to be avaricipus. Besides the blind call for 
*' a guide, but we wander of our own accord. I am 
** not ambitious, we say, but a man cannot live 
" otherwise at Rome i 1 am not wasteful, but the? 
" city requires a great expense : it is not my fault if 
** I am choleric ; and, if I have not yet estabhshed 
" any certain coiu:se of life, it is the fault of youth. 
•* Let us not look abroad for our disease, it is in us, 
*' and planted in our intestines : and our not per- 
** ceiving ourselves to be sick even renders us more 
^^ hard to be cured : if we dp not betimes begin to 

P Nat Hist. Ixu, ?ii. cap. 5a f ^P* SO. 


« in 

iS9i OF tHtJMBS. 

^^ dress ourselves, when shall we hav6 don6 witli sd 
** many" wounds and evils that afflict us ? And yet 
'^ we have a most pleasant medicine in philosophy; 
^ of all others, we are not sehsible of tne pleasure 
** till after the cure ; this pleases and heals at the 
** same time," This is what iSeiieca says, who has 
carried me from my subject j but it is a digression 
not unprofitable. 


Of Thumbs. 

A custom Tacitus* reports, that, amongst certAin bar* 
JS^'^'^^barian kings, their manner was, when they would 
wounding ' make a finti obligation, to join their right hand^ 
t^/nglbe close together, and twist each other's thumbs j and 
blood. when, by force of pressure, the blood appeared in 

the ends, they lightly pricked them with some sharp 

instrument, and mutually sucked them. 
Etymology Physiciaus say, " That the thumb is the master** 
Sn* worf* " finger of each hand, and that the Latin etymology 
poiicx, for" is derived from pollere.*^\' The Greeks called it 
*""^- iynyti^^ as who should say, another hand. And it 

seems, that the Latins also sometimes take it, in this 

i^ense, for the whole hand : 

Sed nee vocUnts excitai^ Ikmdis, 
Molli poUice nee rogata sutgit.% 

When (he It was, at Roihc, 3 signification of fkvour, to tunf 
^V^^wn and clap in the thumbs : 

Fatdof uiroque tuum laudalnt pollice Itidum.^ 

tovr, and 

* Annal. lib. xiL 

f This seems to be taken from M acrobius's Saturn. Iib« rii. ciq[>. IS^ 
who took it, in his turn, from Atticus Capito^ 
i Mart lib. xii. epig. 99, Ter..8| 9< ' 

§ Horat. Tib. L ep. 18» ver. 66/ 

OF THUBfBS. 399 

Thj patron^ when thou mak'st thy sporty 
Will with both thumbs applaud thee for't« 

And of disfavour to lifl them up, and thrust them 
outward : 

■ Cofwerso poUice vulgi 
QuemUbet occidunt populariter.* 

The vulgar, with up lifted thumbs^ 
Kill each one that before them comes.t 

l!lie Romans exempted from war all such as wereTho9ewi» 
maimed in the thumbs, as persons not able to bear^Ji^^,^^ 
arms. Augustus confiscated the estate of a Roman ^h pn- 
knight, ^^ Who had maliciously cut off the thumhis Sl^j^^^ 
^^ of two j^oun^ children he nad, to excuse them ' 
*^ firom goin^ mto the armies ;"t and, before him, 
the senate, m the time of the Italian wai", con- 
demned Caius Valienus to perpetual imprisonment, 
and confiscated all his goods, ^^ For having ptuposely 
'^ cut off the thumb ofhis left hand, to exempt him* 
^* self from that expedition/' § 

Some one, I have forgot who, having won a naval ' 
battle, " Cut off the thumbs of all Us vanquished ^jJS^^* 
** enemies, to render them incapable of fighting, nemy cut 
^^ and of handling the oar/' The Athenians also ^^' 
caused the thumbs of those of ^gina to be cut off, 
" To deprive them of the preference- in the art of 
^^ navigation/MI And, in Lacedaenxonia, pedagogues 
chastised their scholars by biting their tiiumbs. 

* Jut. sat. iiL ver. S(S. 

f This was a metaphorical manner of speech, taken from the. 
arena. When a Radiator was thrown in fiffhting^ the peojple asked 
bk life» by turning down their thumbs, or his deadi bj liftmg t&et» 

i Suet in Cssar. Augusto, sect. 24. 

I Val. Max. lib. y. cap. S, sect. S. 

I Idem, Ub, jx. in Eztemis, sect. 8. 



Cowardice the Mother of Cruelty* 

Craeity the 1 HAVE often heard it said, " That cowardice is 
2JJJJ^2" *h^ mother of cruelty :'* yet I have found, by ex- 
wdfcc ""perience, that that malicious and inhumane animo- 
sity and fierceness is usually accompanied with a fe- 
minine faintness. I have seen the most cruel peo- 
ple, and upon frivolous occasions, very apt to cry, 
Alexander, the tyrant of Pheres, durst not be a 
mectator of tragedies on the theatre, lest his subjects 
would sec him weep at the misfortunes of Hecuba 
and Andromache :* " Though he himself caused so 
** many people every day to be Cruelly murdered.** 
Is it not meanness of sjnrit, that renders them so 
pliable to all extremities? Valour (whose effect t% 
only to be exercised against resistance, 

Ntc nisi lellaniis gaudel cervicc juvenci.f 

Neuher, unless it fight. 

In conquering a bull does he delight.) 

•tops when it sees the enemy at its mercy; but 
pusillanimity, to say that it was also in the action, 
not having courage to meddle in the furst act, rushes 
into the second, of blood and massacre. The mur- 
ders in victories are commonly performed by the 
rascality, and officers of the baggage; and that 
which causes so many unheaid of cruelties, in do- 
mestic wars, is, " That the dregs of the people are 
** flushed in being up to the elbows in blood, an(^ 
** ripping up bodies tljat lie prostrate at their feeti. 
** leaving no sense of any other valour/* 

* Plutarch, in the Life of Pelopidas, eh. xv. 
f Claud, ad Hadrianuro, ver. SO. 


Ei bipuSf et UiTpes msiant marieniibus wrsi^ 
Et qiuecunqtie nunor nobUitatefera esL* 

None but the wolves, the filthy bears, and all 
Th' ignoble beasts, will on the dying fall. 

Like cowardly curs, that, in the house, worry and 
tear in pieces the skins of wild beasts, which they 
durst not attack in the field. What is it, in these 
times, that causes our mortal quarrels? And how 
comes it that, where our ancestors had some degree 
of revenge, wenow begin with the last degree, and 
that, at the first meeting, nothing is to be said^ but 
kill ? What is this but. cowardice ? 

\^ Every one is sensible, that there is more bravery ReTeni^ 
and disdain in subduing an enemy, than in cutting ^^1^^"^^^ 
his throat ; and in makmg him yield, than in putting by kuiios 
him to the sword : besides that, the appetite of re-*" •"*"^" 
venge is better assuaged and gratified, because its 
only aim is to make itself felt : and this is the reason 
why we do not fall upon a block or a stone when 
they hurt us, because they are not capable of feeling 
our revenge ; and to kill a man is to shelter 
him from the hurt we intend him. And as 
Bias cried out to a wicked fellow, ^^ I know 
*^ that, sooner or later, thou wilt have thy reward, 
** but I am afraid I shall not see it.'' And as the 
Orchomenians complained, ^ That the penitence of 
*< Lyciscus, for the treason committed against them, 
« came at a time when there was no one remaining 
*^ alive of those who had been concerned in it, and 
" whom the pleasure of this penitency must have afc 
" fected ;*' so revenge is to be repented of, when the 
person on whom it is executed loses the means of . 
sufiering it : for as the avenger desires to see and 
enjoy the pleasure of his revenge, so the person on 
whom he takes revenge, should be a spectator too,- 
to be mortified by it, and brought to repentance^ 
He shall repent it, we say, and, because We have 
given him a pistol-shot through the head, do we 

X Ovid. Triit lib. iiL el^. 5, ver. S5. 


imagine he will repent ? On the contrary, tf we but 
observe, we shall find, that he makes a mouth at us 
in falling ; and is so far from repenting, that he does 
not so much as repine at us : and we do him the 
kindest office of lifey which is to make him die spec- 
dily and insensibly : we are afterwards to bide our- 
sdves,* and to shift and fly from the officers of jus« 
tice, who pursue us ; and all the while he is at resU 
Killing is good to frustrate a future injury, not to 
revenge one that iis already past ; and it is more an 
act of fear than bravery, of precaution than courage, 
and of defence than of onence ; it is manifest that 
by it we abandon both the true end of revenge, and 
the care of our reputation ; we areaftaid, if he lives, 
he will do us such another injunr* It is not ouf; of 
animosity to him, but care of thyself, that thou rid* 
dest him out of the way. 
Puds com- In the kingdom of Narsingua, this expedient 
rjthoriscld would be useless to us : there not only soldier9, but 
IB the king, tradesmen also end their difierences by the swordf 
Naningua. " '^^^ ^^^S "^vcr dcnics the field to any on? that 
** will fight ; and, when they ai^e, persons of qpality, 
" he looks on, rewarding the victor with a chain of 
*^ gold ; for which any one that will, may %ht with 
^^ him who wears it : thus, by coming off from one 
** combat, he is eogagedriaroany/* If we thought, by 
valour, to be always masters of our. enemies^ and to 
triumph over them> at pleasure, we would be sorry 
they should escape from us as^ they do, by dyiQg ; 
but we have a mind to conquer more wifii safety 
than honour, and, in our quarrel, pursue more the 
end than the glory. . 
Poiiio's li- ^ Asinius PoUio, who, for being a worthy man, was 
pji^?^"''^ less to be excused, conunitted aJikeenw, whp^hav^ 
ing wrote a libel against Flancus^ '^ Defended, to. pub« 
** lish it, till he was long dead :''* which is. to make 
mouths at a blind nuin^ to rail atone that isdeaf^ 
and to wound a. man that has no fe^^ rather, thaa 

* Pliny's Preface to Viespasiaiu 


to run the hazard of his resentment. And Plariciis 
is made to say, in his own beiialf, ^^ That it was onlj 
•' for ghosts to struggle with the dead/' He that 
stays to see the author die, whose writings he in*- 
tends to quarrel with^ what does he but declare^ 
that he would bite, but has not teeth ? It was told 
Aristotle, '^ That some one had spoken ill of him/' 
*' Let him do more,'' said he, ^^ let him whip me 
" too, provided I am not there." 

Our fathers contented themselves to revenge an The lie re. 
injury with the lie, the lie with a box on the car, and "^^ ^^ 
ao forth ; they were valiant enough not to ibar their on thecv. 
adversary, both living and provoked: we tremble 
for foar^ so long as we see them oa foot. And, 
that this is so, is it not our noble practice of these 
d^s equally to prosecute to death both him that has 
ofifendc^ us^ and him whom w^ have offended f . # 

It is also a kind of cowardice, that hasintrodaoedsecomif fa. 
the custom of seconds, thtrds, and fourths in ouctrodaced, 
duels : they were fonnedy duels, they are now skir^ byl^^d. 
mtshes and battles^ The first inventors of this pflad-»ic«- 
tice feared to be alone: Qutan in se cuifue.minimunk 
jfiduGUB esstt ; ^^ They had little confidence in> thenar 
^' selves/' EoF, naturallv, any company whaitever . 
is comfortable adMi< assisting in danger. Third per* 
sons w!ire formerly called in to {prevent (fisofrder and 
foul play oidy, aiid to be witnesses of the^success^bf 
the combat. But since they have brought it t!o tUs 
pass^ that they tbemiselTcs engage, whoever is in- ' 
vited cannot' handsomely 'stand by as an idle spec- 
tator, for fear of being suspected either of want ike& 
fection or courage. Besides the injustice and un^- 
worthiness of such an action, the engaging other 
force and vabur, in the protection of your honour^ 
than your own; I conceive it a disadvantage to a 
brave man, and who wholly relies upon himself, to 
shufiie his fortune with that of a second, since every 
one runs hazard enough for himself without running 
it for another, and has enough to do to depend on 
his own valour for the defence of his life, without in- 
trusting a thing so dear in a third man's hand: for, 

2 D 2 


* if it be not expressly agreed on before to the con« 
traijy It is a combined party of all four, and, if your 
second be killed, you have two to deal withal with 
good reason. And to say, that it is foul play ; it is 
so indeed, as it is for one, well-armed, to attack a 
. man that has but the hilts of a broken sword in his 
hand, or for a man clear, and in a whole skin, to 
fall on a man that is already desperately wounded ; 
but, if these be advantages you have got by fighting, 
you may make use of them without reproach : all 
that is weighed and considered is the disparity and 
inequality of the condition of the combatants when 
they begun ; as to the rest, you charge it upon for- 
tune : and liiough you had alone three enemies upon 
you at once, your two companions being killed, you 
nave no more wrong done you, than I should do, 
in a battle, by running a man through, whom I 
should see engaged with one of our men, at the like 
advantage. The nature of society requires, that 
where there is troop against troop (as where our 
duke of Orleans* challenged Henry king of Eng- 
land, a hundred against a hundred ; where the Ar« 
gives challenged three hundred against as many of 
the Laced8emonians,t alfd three to three, as the 
Horatii against the Curatii), the multitude on either 
side is conddered but as one single man. Wherever 
there is company, the hazard is confused and 
« dueuip^ I have a domestic interest in this discourse j for 
twi^nsome niy brother the Sieur de Matecoulom, was at Rome 
'"iS^en ^'^tr^^t^d. by a gentleman, with whom he had no 
^"whkiTL* great acquaintance, and who was defendant, and 
Momalir^e <^hallenged by another, to be his second ; in thiff 
wai eopig. duel he found himself matched with a gentleman, 
^ his neighbour, much better known to him, where, 

after having dispatched his man, seeing the two 
principals still on foot, and soimd, he ran in to dis-^ 
engage his friend. What could he do less ? Should 

♦ Monstrelet's Chronicle, vol. i. chap. 9. 
t Herodou £U i. p, 37r 


he have stood stilly and, if chance had ordered it so, 
have seen him he was come thither to defend killed 
before his face ? What he had hitherto done signified 
nothing to the business, the quarrel was yet unde- 
cided: the courtesy that you may, and certainly 
ought, to show to your enemy, when you have re- 
duced him to an ill condition, and have a great ad-v 
vantage over him, I do not see how you can show it, 
where the interest of another is in the case, where 
you are only called in as an assistant, and where the 
quarrel is none of yours ; he could neither be just 
nor courteous at the hazard of him he had agreed to 
second, and he was also enlarged from the prisons of 
Ital^, at the speedy and solemn request of our king., 
Indiscreet nation ! we are not content to make our 
vices and follies known to the world by report only 
but we must go into foreign countries, there to show • 
them what fools we are. Put three Frenchmen into 
the deserts of Lybia, they will not live a month to- 
gether without quarrelling and %hting ; so that you 
would say, that this peregrination were a thing pur- 
posely designed to give strangers the pleasure of 
our tragedies, and often to such as rgoice and laugh 
at our miseries. We go into Italy to learn to fence,, 
and fall to practice at the expense of our lives be- 
fore we have learned it ; and yet, according to the 
rule of discipline, the theory should precede the 
practice. We discover ourselves to be but learners ; 

, PrimitUBJwfenum misercB^ belliqtw futurl 

Dura fuivmenta.* — 

To youth the first instructions irksome prove, 
Nor soon the rules of future war they love. 

I know fencing is an art very useful to its end, and Fencinr 
have experimentally found that skiD in it hath in- Jj?^"^^!^ 
spired some with courage above their natural ta-inH. 
lentjt but this is not properly valour, because it 

* £neid. lib. xi. ver. 156. 

f In a duel between two princes, cousin-german, in Spain, the 
elder (says Fliny) by his cran and dexterity in arms, easily sur- 
mounted the awkward sirengtb of the younger, lib. xxviiL cap. 3U 


supports itself by skill, and is founded upon some- 
thing besides itself; the honour of combat consists 
in the emulation of courage, and not of skill ; and 
therefi3re I have known a friend of mine, tamed for 
a great master of this exercise, make choice of 
such arms in his quarrels as .might deprive him 
of the means of this advantage, and whoUy de- 
pended upon fortune and assurance, to the end 
that they might not attribute his victory rather to 
his . sTcin in fencing than his valour. When I was 
young, gentlemen avoided the reputation of good 
fencers, as injurious to them ; and learned to Knee 
with all ima^nable privacy, as a trade of subtlety, 
derogating from tiue and native virtue : 

JVbs schivar, nan parar, non rUirarsif 
, Foglion castor, ne qui desirezza ha parte^ 

Non aanno i oolpifinti hot plenty hor scarsi^ 

Toolie Vira e il Juror Vttso de Parte. 
di% spade hornbilmenie atarsi 

AmexzQ UJf'erro, il pie d*orma non parU : 
Sempre e il piefermo, ? la man sempre in moto | 
Ne scende toglyo in van ne punta a voto.^ 

Tliey neither shrank, nor nntage sought of groundy 
They travers*d not, nor skipp'd from partto part ; 

Their blows were neither false nor feiened found, 
Their wrath, their rage, would let them use no art. 

Their swords together clash with dreadful sound, 
Their feet stand iiast^ and neither stir nor start ; 

They move tlieir hands, stedfast their feet remain, 

Nor blow nor foin they struck, or thrust ia vain.f 

Butts, tilts, and tournaments, the images of war- 
like fights, were the exercises of our fore&thers. 
An inde- This othcf exercise is so much the less noble, as 
bc«meit it only respects a private end ; as it teaches us to 
to^'br.Sk** ^"^" ^^^ another, against law and justice, and as it 
ibeiawa. always producos mischievous effects. It is much 
more worthy and becoming to exercise ourselves in 
things that strengthen than that weaken our govern- 
ments, and that tend to the public safety and com- 
nioii glory. Publius Rutilius Consus was the first 

* Tasso's Her. cant. 12, stanz. 55. | Mr. Fairfax. 


that tsught soldiers ^' To handle then* arms with 
** skill, and joined art to valour ; not fpr the use of 
** private quarrel, but for war, and the Quarrels Of 
** the people of Rome :'^* a popular and civil art of 
fencing. And, besides'the example of Gass^r, " Who 
^^ commanded his men to shoot chiefly at the feces 
*•* of Pompe)r*s gens-d'armes, in the battle of Phar- 
^^ salia," a thousand other commanders have also 
bethought them to invent new forms of weapons, 
and new ways of striking and defending, according 
m occasion should require. i 

But as Philopasnlen " Condemned wrestling, iti$weic« 
^* wherein he excelled, because the preparatives ^,'^^J 
" that were therein employed were different from mtiitary 
*' those that appertain to military discipline, to^*"'*'" 
** which alone he conceived men of honour ought 
•^ to apply themselves;'* so it seems to me, thait 
this address, to which we form our limbs, those 
writhings and motions young men are taught in this 
new school, are not only of no use, but rather con- 
trary and hurtful to the manner of fight in battle ; 
our people also commonly make use of particular 
weapons, peculiarly designed for duel. And I have 
known, when it has been disapproved, that a gentle- 
man, challenged to fight with rapier and poniard, 
should appear in the equipage of a man at arms ; 
or that another should go thither with his cloak in- 
stead of a poniard. It is worthy of consideration, 
that Lachez, in Plato, speaking of learning to fence 
after our manner, says, " That he never knew any 
" great soldier come out of that school, especially 
*' the masters of it :**f and indeed, as to them, our 
own experience tells us as much. As to the rest, 
we may at least conclude, that they are abilities of 
no relation nor correspondence ; and, iii the educa- 
tion of the children of his government, Plato t pro- 

* Valer. Max. lib. ii. cap. 3. sect. 2. 

f Plato's dialogue, entitled Lachez, p. 2^7. 

\ De Legibus, lib. vil. p. 630. 


The art of hibits the art of boxing, introduced by AmiciW 

p?^?b{ied ^^^ Epeius, and that of wrestling by Antus and 

fcy Plato. Cecyo,* because ** They have another end than to 

•^ render youth fit for the service of the war, and 

^* contribute nothing to it" But I see I am too 

far "strayed from hiy theme. 

The emperor Maurice, being advertised by dreams 
and several prognostics, that one Fhocas, an ob- 
scure soldier, would kill him, questioned his son-in« 
law Philip, " Who this Fhocas was, and what was his 
*^ nature, qualities, and manners ;" and as soon as 
Philip, amongst other things, had told him, " That 
S^^* " he was cowardly and timorous,'* the* emperor im- 
weo nata- mediately thence concluded, " That he w'as a mur- 
JjJ|y«w. 4^ jgrer and cruel." What is it that makes tyrants 
so bloody ? It is only the solicitude for their own 
safety, and that their faint hearts can furnish them 
with no other means of securing themselves, than 
in exterminating those that may hurt them, even 
sp much as the w^omen, for fear of a scratch : 

Cunda ferity dum cuncta timet.f 

He strikes at all, who every one does fear. 

ooe act of The first cruelties are exercised for themselves ; 
chilly ^ from thence springs the fear of a just reVfengQ, 
V'^^cf which afterwards produces a serie.s of new cruelties, 
"" to obliterate one by the other. Philip, king of Mace* 
don, who had so much upon his hands with the 
people of Home, agitated with the horror of so 
many murders committed by his appointment, and 
doubting of being able to regain his credit with b/[> 
many families, whom he had at diverse times of- 
fended, ^^ Resolved to seize all the children of thos^e 
^' he had caused to be slain, to dispatch them daily 
. ^' one after another, and thereby establish his own 
^ repose." Good subjects become any place ; an4 

* Or rather Cercyo, K^j«tw», Plato de l<egi|}. W). vii. Pi 630» 
t Cl^ud, in Eutrop. lib. I. vcr, 182. 


therefore I, who more consider the weight and utility 
tof what I deliver dian its order and connexion, 
need not fear in this place to bring in a fine story, 
though it be a little by the by ; for when such sub- 
jects are rich in their own native beauty, and are 
able to justify themselves, the least end of a hair 
will serve to draw them into my discourse. 

" Amongst others condemned by Philip, Hero- a twM^, 
« dicus,Piince of Thessaly, had been one.* HeJ^'***^ 
** had, moreover, after him, caused his two sons-in- j<cti 
** law to be put to death, who each left a son very 
•* young behind him. Theoxena and Archo were 
** the two widows. Theoxena, though warmly . 
^^ courted to it, could not be persuaded to marry 
^^ again ; Archo was married to Poris, the greatest 
^^ man of the ^nians, and by hifn had a great 
^' many children, which she, dying, left all minors. 
**. Theoxena, moved with a maternal charity towards 
^' her nephews, that she might have them under her 
^^ own conduct and protection, married Poris ; 
*' when presently comes a proclamation of the 
" king's edict. This bold spirited mother, suspect- 
^* ing the cruelty of Philip, and afraid of the inso- 
** Jence of the soldiers towards these lovely young 
^' children, was so bold as to declare, that she would 
*^ rather kill them with her own hands than deliver 
^< them up. Poris, startled at this protestation, pro- 
^^ mised her to steal them away, and to transport 
^f them to Athens, and there commit them to the 
** custody of some trusty friends of his. They took 
^^ therefor^ the opportunity of an annual feast, 
'^ which was celebrated at ^nia, in honour of 
^^ ^neas, and thither they went. Having appeared 
^' by day at the public ceremonies and banquet, 
^^ they stole, the night following, into a vessel laid 
^' ready for that purpose, to make their escape by 
^^ sea. The wind proved contrary, and findings 
^* themselves, in the morning, within sight of the. 

^ Jbe emire story {g t^k^iifrom Titi|^ Livy, Ub. xL cap. 4, 


<* land, from whence they had launched over night, 
•* were pursued by the guards of the port ; which 
^ Poris perceiving, he laboured all he could to has- 
** ten the mariners to put off. But Theoxena, fran- 
<^ tic with afiection and revenge, in pursuance c^ 
*' h^ former resolution, prepared both arms and poi- 
•* son, and exposing them befori^them ; ^ Go tOy my 
^ children,^ said she, ^ death is now the only means 
^ of your defence and liberty, and "will administer 
^^ occasion to the gods to exercise their satcred jus* 
** tice ; these drawn swords, these ftill cups, wiB 
*' open to you the way to it ; be of good courage ; 
"^^ and thou my son, who art the eldest, take this 
*^ steel into thy hand, that thou mayest tlie more 
*' bravely die/ The children having, on one side, 
•* so hearty a counsellor, and the enemy at their 
** throats on the other, ran all of them eagerly to 
^^ dispatch themselves with what was next to hand ; 
" and, when half dead, were thrown into the sea. 
•* Theoxena, proud of having so gloriously pro- 
** vided for the safety of her children, clasping her 
*** arms with great affection ftbout her husband's 
" neck ; * Let us, my dear,' said she, ' follow these 
•' boys, and enjoy the same sepulchre they do ;* 
" and thus embraced, they threw themselves head- 
** long overboard into the sea ; so that the ship was 
*' carried back without its owners into the bar* 
" hour.*' 
Sn7r"!e to Tyrants, at once both to kill and to make their 
ic^Vhen ° anger felt, have racked their wit to invent the most 
S^nti'^f li^igcring deaths : they wiU have their enemies dis- 
those they patchcd, but not SO fast that they may not have lei- 
dcath? ^"^^ *^ ^^^^^ *^^^^ vengeance : and herein they are 
mightily perplexed ; for, if the torments they inflict 
are violent, they are short; if long, they are not 
then so painful as they desire; and thus torment 
" themselves, in contriving how to torment others. 
Of this we have a thousand examples in antiquity, 
and I know not whether we, unawares, do not re- 
tain some traces of this barbarity. 


All that exceeds a simple death, appears to me tzecutioiit 
mere craeltyj neither caai our justice expect that bey,!!Jd* 
he, whom the fear of deaths by being beheaded of m^eiy 
hanged, will not restrain, should be any more awed delth£>tL 
by the imagination of a slow fire, burning pincers,'"** «"* 
or the wheel. I know not whether we do not even*^' 
drive them into despair by that means ; for in what 
condition can the soul of a man be who expects 
death four and twenty hours together, whether he is 
broke upon a wheel, or after the old way nailed to a 
cross ? josephus relates, ** That in the time of the 
^^ war which the Romans made in Judea, happening 
** to pass by where they had, three days before, 
^* crucified certain Jews, he knew three of his 
^' own friends amongst them, and obtained the &- 
** vour of having tnem taken down. Two of 
^* them," he says, " died, the third, lived a great 
^* while after." 

Chacondilas, a writer of good credit, in the re- Barbww* 
cords he has left behind him of things that happened m^^^o. 
in his time, and near him, tells us; as one of the fi'»cted by 
most excessive torments, of what the emperor tor m!^ 
Mechmed often practised, viz. " Cutting off men ««*• 
" in the middle by the diaphragma, with one blow 
*' of a scimitar ; by which it followed that they 
*' died, as it were, two deaths at once, and both the 
*' one part," says he, " and the other were seen to 
*' stir a great while after with the torment." I do 
not think there was any great suffering in this mo- 
tion ; the torments that are most dreadful to look 
on are not always the greatest to endure ; and I 
think those that other historians relate to have been 
practised upon the Epirot lords to be more cruel, 
who were " Condemned to be flayed alive by piece- 
** meal, in so malicious a manner that they conti- 
^* nued in this misery a fortnight j" as also these 
other two that follow. 

" Croesus, having caused a gentleman, the fiivou- Jwo mnr^ 
** rite of his brother Pantaleon, to be seized on,"/ 



r'tre cruel. <^ Carried him into a fuller^s shop, where he caused 
^' ** him to be scratched and carded with cards and 

*' combs belonging to that craft, till he died.*— 
^* George Sechel, chief commander of the peasants 
*^ of Poland, who committed so many mischie& un« 
*^ der the title of the Crusado, being defeated in 
^* battle, and taken by the vayvod of Transylvania, 
^^ was three days bound naked upon the rack, ex- 
^^ posed to all sorts of torments that any one 
^^ could inflict upon him ; during which time many 
** other prisoners were kept &sting. At last, 
^' while he was living and looking on, they made 
^ his beloved brother Lucat, for whose safety alone 
^' he entreated, by taking upon himself the blame 
^^ of all their evil actions, to drink his blood, and 
^^ caused twenty of his most favoured captains^ to 
^^ feed upon him, tearing his flesh in pieces with 
^^ their teeth, and swallowing the morsels ; the re» 
^^ mainder of his body and bowels, as soon as he 
^^ was dead, were boiled, and others of bis followers 
^ compelled to eat them,'* 


All Things have their Season. 

oUCH as compare Cato the censor with the 
younger Cato that killed . himself compare two 
beautiful natures and forms much resembling one 
another. The first acquired his reputation severi^ 
ways, and excelled in " military exploits, and the 
iHi« Tirtue«« utility of his public vocations ;" but the virtue 
Ufiia^of tlie younger, besides that it were blasphemy td 

* Herodot. lib. i. p* 44. 


compare any to him in vigour, was much more pure j frmbie t« 
for who can acquit the censor of envy and ambition, 2^,^^ 
after " He had dared to offend the honour of Scipio,c«wr. 
*^ a man in goodness and all excellent qualities in- 
•* finitely beyond him, or any other of his time ?'* 

That which they report of him, amongst other CaiotiM 
things, « That in his extreme old age he set him-j^^j^^J^ 
^^ self to learn the Greek tongue with so greedy am^ 
^* appetite, as if he was to quench a long thirst,*' SJ^IIj^'J?^^ 
does not seem to make for his honour ; it being pro- 
perly what we call being twice a child. 

" All things have their season,'* good and bad, 
i&nd a man may say his Pater-noster out of time ; as 
they accused T. Quintus Jlaminius, " That, being 
** general of an army, he was seen praying apart in 
** the time of a battle that he won/'* 

Imponel \Jinem sapiens, el rebus hanestis.X 
The wise man limits even decent things. 

EudemonidaS) seemg Xenocrates, when very old, 
still very intent upon his school lectures, " When 
^* will this man be wise," said he, " if he yet 
" learn ?"§ and Hiilopaemen, to those who cried up 
king Ptolemy, for inuring his person every day to 
the exercise of arms : " It is not," said he, ** com-. 
^* mehdable in a king of his age to exiercise himself 
*• in those things, he ought now really to employ 
•* them. The young are to make their preparations^ 
** the old to 6njoy them, say the sages;" and the 
greatest vice they observe in us is, " That our de- 
** sires incessantly grow young again j we are always 
*• beginning again to live." 

Our studies and desires should sometimes be sen-ourdesirn 
sible of old age : we have one foot in the grave, and*'"«*?i^w 

^P ' t 's. ' ® J mortified 

yet our appetites and pursuits spring up every day ; with oid 


* See Plutarch's Comparison of him to Philopsmen, sect 2. 
•f Jut. sat. vi. ver. 344. 

% The words which Montai^e here applies to hi& own desigp, 
lunre another meaning in the original. 
§ Fluturch's Notable Sajmgs of the Lacedsmoaians. 


7f^ secanda numnara 

Locas sub tpsumfunus, et sepulcri 

ImmemoTf sinus domosJ^ 

When death, perhaps, is near at hand^ 
Thou fairest marhles dost command 
But cut for use, Ii^ge poles to rear^ 
Unmindful of thy sepulchre. 

The longest of my designs i» not above a- year's ex- 
tent i I think of nothing now but my end ; aban- 
don all new hopes and enterprises; take my last 
leave of every place I depart from, and every day 
dispossess myself of what I have* Olim jam nee 
perit quicquam mifii^ nee acquiritur; plus mperest 
viatici^ quam via :t ** I now shall neither lose nor 
" get; 1 have more wherewith to defray my jour- 
•* ney than I have way to go :" 

Vixi, et qiiem dederat atrsumforluna peregi.X 

Fve fiv'd, and finish'd the carieer 
Which fortune had pcescrib'd me here. 

To conclude ; it is tlie only comfort I find in my 
old age, that it mortifies in me several cares and de- 
sires, wherewith life is disturbed ; the care how the 
World goes; the care of riches, of grandeur, of 
knowledge, of health, and myself. Tliere are some 
who are learning to speak, at a time when they 
should learn to be silent for ever. A man may at 
ways study, but he must not always go to school* 
What a contemptible thing is an old man learning 
his A, B, C ! 

. Diversos diversajuvani, turn omnibus anms, 
Omtna conveniunt. 

For several things do several men delight. 
And all things are not for all ages right. 

♦ Hor. lib. ii. ode IS, ver. 17, &c. 

+ Sen. epist. 77. 

-^ ^n«id. lib. iv. vcr. 6j3. 


If we must study, let us follow that study which iswhatstwiy 
suitable to our present condition, that we may be*^|{J^j"* 
able to answer as he did; who, being asked, " To age 
" what end he studied in his decrepid age ?" " That 
** I may go the better off the stage," said he, " and 
*' at greater ease." Such a study was that of the 
younger Cato, at feeling his end approach, when he 
was reading Plato's discourse of the '^ Immortality 
** of the soul :" not, as we are to believe, that he was 
not long before furnished with all sorts of provision 
for such a departure; for, of assurance, an establish* 
ed will and instruction he had, more than Plato had 
in all his writings ; his knowledge and courage were» 
in this respect, above philosophy. He employed 
himself thus, not for the service of his death, but as 
a man whose sleep is not once disturbed in the im-» 
portance of such a deliberation ; he also, without 
choice and change, continued his studies with tho 
other customary actions of bis life. The night that 
he was denied the pr»toi]ship he spent in play : that 
wherein he was to die he spent in reading : the loss 
lather of life^ or of office, was all one to him. 


Of Virtue. 

I !FIND, by experience, that there is a vast differ- Maatei* 
ence between the starts and sallies of the mind, andf^°^^^ 
a resolute and constant habit ; and very well per- city of 
ceive, there is nothing we may not do, nay, even to5?[y"*JJ^ 
the surpassing the. divinity itself, says a certain per- regaiariy, 
son, forasmuch as it is more for a man to render him- J^^p^ 
self impassible or dispassionate, than to be such by his cipic 
original condition ; and even to be able to conjoin tol^ ' 


loiid Yir* 

416 Ot VIRTtJi;. 

jtYlati's imbecility and frailty a godly resolution and 
assurance. But this is by fits and starts ; and, in 
the lives of those heroes of times past, there are some- 
times miraculous sallies, and such as seem infinitely 
to exceed our natural strength j but they are indeed 
sallies ; and it is hard to believe, that these so ele- 
vated qualities can be so thoroughly imprinted on the 
mind, that they should become common, and, as it 
were, natural to it ; it accidentally happens, even to 
us, who are the most imperfect of men, that some- 
times our mind gives a spring, when roosdd by the 
discourses or examples of others^ much beyond 
its ordinary stretch ; but it is a kind of passion, 
which pushes and pricks it on, and, in some sort, ra* 
vishes it from itseln but, this whirlwind once blown 
over, we see, that it insensibly flags and slackens it- 
self, if not to the lowest degree, at leairt so as to be 
no more the same ; insomuch as that, upon every 
trivial occasion, the losing of a bird, or the breaking 
of a glass, we suffer ourselves to be moved little less 
than one of the common people. I am of opinion, 
that, order, moderation, and constancy excepted, all 
things are to be done by a man that is, in general, 
very deficient. ** TTierefore," say the sages, " in 
^^ order to make a right judgment of a man, you are 
*^ chiefly to pry into his common actions, and sur* 
** prise him ili his every-day habit." 
ufJd^Ta Py"*^^* ^^ ^^^^ erected so pleasant a system of 
Taio,*to knowledge upon ignorance, endeavoured, as all the 
h?"[rfe°to '^^*» ^^^ ^^^^ really philosophers, did, to make his life 
ku d(K> correspond with his doctrine : and because he maia- 
*^^- tained the imbecility of human judgment . to be so 
extreme, as to be incapable of any choice or incli* 
nation, and would have it perpetuaoly wavering and 
suspending, considering and receiving all things as 
indifferent, it is said, ** That he always comported 
^ himself after the same manner and countenance ;^ 

• Diog. Laert. in Pyrrho'e Life, lib. ix. pecU 6S» 


• if he had begun a discourse, he would always end 
*^ wliat he had to say,* though the person he was 
^* speaking to was gone away : and, if he walked, he 
" never turned out of his way for any impediment, 
** being preserved from precipices, the jostle of carts, 
" and other like accidents, by the care of his friends ; 
** for to fear, or to avoid any thing, had been to con- 
*^ tradict his own propositions, which deprived the 
" senses themselves of all certainty and choice: 
^' sometimes he suffered incisions and cauteries with 
/^ so great constancy, as n^er to be seen so much 
** as to wink his eyes.** It is something to bring the 
60ul to these imaginations ; more to join the effects 
to it, and yet not impossible ; but to conjoin them 
with such perseverance and constancy as to make 
them habitual, is certainly, in attempts so remote 
from the common usance, almost incredible to be 
done. Therefore it was, " That being, one day, 
*^ found at his house terribly scolding at his sister, 
^* and being reproached that he therein transgressed 
** his own rules of indifference : * What,' said he, 
** must this foolish woman also serve for a testimony 
" to my rules?* Another time, being to defend 
** himself against a dog : * It is * said he, * very hard 
** totally to put off man ; and we must endeavour 
** and rorce ourselves to encounter things, first by 
•* effects, but at the worst by reason and argument.** 

About seven or eight years since, a countryman, Eztraordu 
yet living at a village but two leagues from my house, J"2 pro. 
naving been long tormented with his wife's jealousy, duced by a 
coming, one day, home from his work, and she wel-*"f^tioiir' 
coming him with her accustomed railing, he entered 
into so great a fury, ** That, with a sickle he had 
" yet in his hand, he totally cut off all those parts 
^* that she was jealous of, and threw them in her 
" face." And, it is said, " Tliat a young gentle- 

* Yet Montaigne says, in the Sd chapter of this Yolume, thai 
they who represent Pyrrho in this %ht, extend his doctrine beyond 
what It really was ; and that, like a rational man, he made use of 
all his corporeal and spiritual faculties as rule and reason. 

VOL. II. 2 £ 

418 bFVlBTUB. 

^^ man of our nation, brisk and amorous, having, by 
*^ his perseverance, at last mollified the heart of a fair 
'^ mistress, enraged, that, upon the point of fruition, 
^* he found himsdf unable to perform, and that. 

Non viriliier 

Iners senile pends exhdit cafnUJ^ 

" so soon as ever he came home he deprived himself 
** of it, and sent it to his mistress ; a cruel and 
«« bloody victim for the expiation of his offence.** If 
this had been done upon a mature consideration, and 
upon the account of rdMgion, as the priests of Cy- 
bele did, what should we have said of so Cholenc 
an action ? 
A wonuui ^^ A few days since, at Bergerac, within five leagues 

^hf ^7r ** ^^ ^y ^^^s^j ^P *^^ ^^^^ Dordogne, a woman 
forbdlL*'" having, over-nignt| been abused and beaten by her 
bttji^y her u husbaud, a peevish ill-natured fellow, resolved to 
^^ escape from his ill usage at the hazard of her life ; 
^^ and going, so soon as she was up the next morning, 
** to visit her neighbours, as she v^as wont to do, she 
*^ dropped a hint of the recommendation of her afiairs, 
*' she took a sister of her's by the hand, led her to a 
** bridge, and after having taken leave of her, as it 
*^ were in jest, without any manner of alteration or 
** change in her countenance, she threw herself head- 
*' long into the river, and was there drowned. That 
^' which is the most remarkable, is, that this resolu- 
** tion was a whole night forming in her head.*' 
voinntaty But it is quitc auothcr thing with the Indian wo« 
thriiTdiaii ^'^^^^ 5 ^^^ ^^ being the custom there fi)r the men to 
wiTcs. have many wives, and for the best beloved of them to 
kill herself at her husband's decease, eveSry one of 
them makes it the business of her whole life to ob- 
tain this privilege, and gain this advantage over her 
companions } and the good offices they do their hus- 
bands, aim at no other recompence, ** but to be pre- 
'^ ferred in accompanying them in death.** 

♦Tib.. lib. ir. deg. Pen. ad Priapum inyetenun Poet. Cita- 


Vli mortlferojacta est fax uliima lecio^ 

U<corum fusts stai pta tvrha comis : 
El certamen habent Jethi^ quce viva seqtiatur 

Confii^mf pudor est non lictdsse mori^ 
Ardent victrices, et flamme pectora praibeni^ 

Impommtque sms ora perusia viris** 

When to the p3e they throw the kindling brandy 

The pious wives with hair disheveU'd stand. 

Striving which living shall ia death attend 

Her spouse, and gain an honourable end ; 

Tliose thus preferr'd, their breasts to flame expose. 

And their scorch'd lips to their dead husband's close. 

A certain author, of our times, reports, that he 
has seen this custom in those oriental nations, that 
not only the wives bury themselves with their hus« 
bands, out even the slaves he has enjoyed also ; which 
is done after this manner: ^' The husband being 
" dead, the widow may, if she will (but few do it), 
*' demand two or three months to order her affiurs* 
'' The day being come, she mounts on horseback^ 
^^ dressed as fine as at her wedding, and, with a 
'' cheerful countenance, says she is going to sleep 
*' with her spouse, holding a looking-glass in her 
^' left-hand, and an arrow in the other. Being thus 
'^ conducted in pomp, accompanied with her kin* 
^^ dred and friends, and a great concourse of people, 
^' with great joy, she is at last brought to the pub- 
^' lie place appointed for such spectacles: this is a 
^^ spacious place, in the midst of which is a pit full of 
*^ wood, and, adjoining to it, a mount raised four or 
^^ five steps, to which she is led, and served with a 
'^ magnificent repast; which being done, she &lls 
^' to dancing and singing, and gives order when she 
^* thinks fit, to kin^e the fire; which being per- 
^< formed, she descends, and, taking the nearest of 
** her husband's relations by the hand, they walk 
" tc^ether to the river close b3r, where she strips 
'^ herself stark naked, and, having distributed her 
^* c^odies and jewds to her fidends, plunges herself 

» Propert. lib. liL eleg. IS, ver. 17, *c. 

420 OF WBLTTit. 

" " into the wat^r, as if to cleanse herself from W 
" sins : coming out thence, she wraps herself in A 
'^ yellow linen rqbe, five and twenty eUs long, and 
*^ agaiti giving her hand to her said husband's rela* 
<^ tions, they return back to the mount, where she 
'< makes a speech to the people, and recommends 
** her children to them, if she have any. Between 
<' the pit and the mount, there is commonly a cur^ 
*' tain drawn, to skreen the burning furnace from 
•^ their sight; which some of them, to manifest the 
** greater courage, forbid. Having eiided what she 
" has to say, a woman presents her with a vessel of oil, 
" wherewith to anoint her head, and her whole body ; 
*' which having done with, she throws it into the fire, 
'* and, in an instant, leaps in after it : immediately 
*^ the people throw a great many logs upon her, that 
" she may not belong in dying, and convert all their 
** joy into sorrow and mourning. If they are per- 
^ sons of mean conditioii, the body of the deceased 
** is carried to the place of sepulture, and there 
•* placed sitting, the widow kneeling before him, 
** and embracing him, while a wall is built round 
*^ them, which so soon as it is raised to the height 
^* of the woman's shoulders, some of her relation^ 
'* come behind her, and, taking hold of her head, 
^' twist her neck, and, so soon as she is dead, the 
** wall is presently raised up, and closed, where they 
" remain entombed." . 
ti^Ttkr Th^® was, in this same countiy, something like it 
c^BOM- in their Gymnosophists ; for, not by constraint of^ 
^Muurii^ others, nor by the impetuosity of a sudden humour. 

bnnitiiaii.butby the express profession of their order, their 
*^^^ custom was, " So .soon as they arrived at a cer* 
•* tain age,* or saw themselves threatened by any 
^^ disease, to cause a funeral pile to be erected for 
'^ themselves, and on the top a neat bed, where af^ 
" ter having joyfully feasted their fnends and ao- 
^^ quaintance, they hid them down with «ttch reso- 

* Stnibo, lib. XT. p. 1043, tome ii. Amsterdam, 1707. 


^ ludon^ that, when the £re wbb aj^pUed to it, 
<^ they were never seen to stir hand or foot ; and 
^^ after this manner one of them, Calanus by name^ 
^.' expired in the presence of the whole army of Alex- 
'^ ander the Great ;'' and he was neither reputed 
holy, nor happy amongst them, that did not thus de* 
stroy himself; dismissing his soul, purged and puri- 
fied by the fire, after having consumed all that was 
earthly and mortal. This constant premeditation of 
the whole life is that which makes the wonder. 

Amongst our other controversies, that about fitte Doctrine 
is crept in, and to tie things to come, and even our Jj|jj^^ 
own wills, to a certain and inevitable necessity, wenteemkty 
are yet upon this argument of time past; " Since J^"**^ 
'^^ God foresees, that all things shall so fall out, as 
^^ doubtless he does, it will wen necessarily follow, 
^^ that they must so fallout:" to which our masters 
reply, ^^ That the seeing an^ thing come to pass, 
<< as we do, and as God himself also does (for, 
^^ all things being present with him, he rather sees 
^* than foresees), is not to compel it to happen ; nay, 
^^ we see because things do fall out because we see.: 
^^ the events cause the knowledge, but the know- 
^^ ledffe does not cause the events : that which we 
f^ see happen does happen ; but it might have hap- 
^^ pened otherwise : and God, in the register of the cuwt or 
" causes of events, which he has in his prescience, JJ^^^JjlJ* 
^^ has also those which we call accidental and volun-iri«iiceof 
♦* tary, which depend upon the liberty he has given ^^^^ 
f^ to our determination, and knows that we shall do v^rtniiom 
•• amiss, because we would do so." * !l!I?,I^t, 

I have seen a sreat many commanders encourage 
their soldiers with this fatal necessitr ; for, if our iSe 
be limited to a certain hour, neither the enemies' 
shot, nor our own boldness, nor our flight and cow- 
ardice, can either shorten or prolong it. This is 
easily said, but see who will put it in practice ; and, 
if it be so that a strong and Uvely faitn draws along 
with it actions ofa correspondent nature, certainly tlm 
faith we so much brag of is very light in the present 

42S (^ VIRTUE* 

age, iinless the contempt it has of works, makes it 
disdain their company. So it is, that to this very 
purpose the Sieur de «foinville,* as credible a witness 
as any other whatever, tells us of the Bedoins, a na- 
tion against the Saracens, with whcxn the king Saint 
Lewis had to do in the Holy Land. *^ That Uiey, in 
^^ their religion, did so firmly believe the number of 
« every man's days to be, from all eternity, prefixed, 
^* and set down by an inevitable predestination, that 
** they went naked to the wars, excepting a Turkish 
'^ sword, and their bodies only covered with a white 
^^ linen cloth : and for the greatest curse they could 
*^ invent, when they were angry, this was always in 
'^ their mouths. Cursed be thou, as he that alwaysanns 
" himself for fear of death.'* This is a testimony of 
T« wut faith very much beyond our's. And of this sort is 
Sim if ^ that also which two friars of Florence gave in our 
Florence fitthcrs' days.t Being engaged in some controversy 
i!lbmittiog of learning, they agreed each to undergo a fiery 
InV'^'u"^"*™^' for the verification of his argument, in presence 
wdctu!^ * of all the people, and in the public square ; and all 
things were already prepared, and just upon the 
point of execution, when it was interrupted by an 
unexpected accident. 
T ^k^ ^ young Turkish lord, having perfi>rmed a nota- 
h^aVre able exploit, in his own person, in the sight of both 
wm'cmi- *™*^^^> *^^* of Amurath, and that of Hunniades, 
^r^ readv to join battle, being asked by Amurath, 
** Who it was that, in so tender and unexperienced 
years (for it was his first sally into arms), had in- 
spired him with so noble a courage,^' replied, 
That his chief tutor, for valour, was a hare : for 
being," said he, ^* one day a-hunting, I found a 
^^ hare sitting, and though I had a brace of excellent 
*^ greyhounds with me, yet methought it would be 
^* best, for sureness, to make use of my bow, for 
,^* Ac sat very f|ur, I then let fljr my arrows, and 

♦ Jpinville's Memoirs, vol. I cap. 30, p. 190, 

-^ Memoiiv of Philip de Comines, lib« yiii. cap. 19i 



OP V1RTU£. 429 

^ shot forty that I had in my quiver, not only 
** without hurtinff, but without starting her from her 
^ form : at last I slipped my dogs after her, but to 
•* no more purpose than I had shot : by :which I un- 
•* derstood, that she had been secured by her dcs- 
** tiny ; and that neither darts nor swords can wound 
^ without the permission of fate, which We can nei- 
** ther hasten, nor put back.** This story may 
serve, by the way, to let us see how flexible our reai* 
son is to all sorts of images. 

A personage advanced in years, name, dignity,' 
and learning, boasted to me, that he had been in- 
duced to a certain very important change in his 
fidth, by a strange whimsical incitation, and also so 
very absurd, that I thought it much stronger, being 
taken the ccmtrary way : he called it *a miracle, 1 
look upon it quite otherwise. 

The Turkish historians say, ^^ That the persua*Thec«Nii. 
^ sion, rooted in those of their nation, of the fatal |jj®'/jy^ 
^ and unalterable prescription of their days, does tvIu. 
^ manifestly conduce to the giving them great assur- 
'* ance in dangers ;'* and I know a great prince, who 
makes very successful use of it; whether it be, that 
he does reaUy believe it, or that he makes it l^s ex« 
cuse* for so wonderfiilly hazarding himself; pro* 
vided fortune be not too soon weary of her favour 
to him. 

Hiere has not happened, in our memory, a more AMMipii. 
admirable effect of resolution, than in those two who Jjj!|^^^ 
conspired the death of the prince of Orange.* It isoimnge. 
to be wondered how the second, that executed it, 
could ever be animated to an attempt, wherein his 
companion, who had done his utmost^ had proved 
so unsuccessful ; and, after the* same method, and 
with the same arms, to go and attack a nobleman, 
armed with so fresh a hahdle for distrust, powerful 
m followers, and of bodily strength, in his own hall» 
amidst his guards, and in a city wholly at his devq^ 

f Tbe founder of dit republic of HoBawL 


tion. He, doubtless, emplo}red a vexy resolute 
arm, and courage inflamed with a furjous pi^^aion : i^ 
dagger is surer for striking home, but by refMon that 
Qiore motion, and a stronger arm. is required, thaii 
>^ith a pistol, the blow is more subject to be put bv^ 
or hinderedi That this ma^i ran upon certain deaui, 
I make no great doubt ; for the hopes any one coul4 
&^tter him with) could not find place Iq anv calni 
mind, and the conduct of his exploit sufficiently mam 
nifests, that he had no want of that, any more than 
of courage. The motives of so powerful a persua^ 
sion may be diverse, for qur &ncy do^s what it will 
both with itself and us, 
Thednkeof , The executioQ near Orleans w«s nothing like 
^ - this ; there was in that more of chance than vigour, 
the wound was not mortal, if fortune had not made 
it so. To attempt to shoot on horseback, and at a 

great distance, and at one whose body was in motion 
y the moving ^f his horse, was the attempt of a 
man who had rather miss his blow, than &il of sav« 
jng hintself, i^ was apparent by what followed afler ) 
for he was so astonished and stupi^ed with the 
thouffht of so desperate an execution, that he to** 
tally Tost his judgment, both to find his way to escape^^ 
and how to govern his tongue in his answers. What 
needed he to have done more than to fly back to hia 
friends cross a river ? It is what I have done in less 
dangers, and what I think of very little hazard, how 
broad soever the river, may be, provide your horse 
have good going iq, and that you see, on the other 
side, good lancSng. The other (viz, the prince of 
Orange's assassin), when they pronounced lus dread« 
fill sentence : " I was prepared fi)r this,'' said he,. 
^' beforehand, and I will make you wondei: at my 
^* patience.'' 
Ap«>opie The Assassins, a nation dependant upom P1mb» 
iTere !!!«». ^^^^ ^^^ reputcd, amongst the Mahom6tAn8» * JP^^ 
tinatiou the pie of great devotion, and purity of manners. They 
io"plirr*''hold, " That the neatest way to gain paiadis^ is to 
disc. c« yii some one of a contrary reli|[ton i'* which tt 


the reason they hare often been seen» being but one 
or two, without anns, run n^adly against powerful 
enemies, at the price of certain death, and without 
any consideration of their own danger. So was our 
count Raimond of Tripoli, assassinated (which word 
13 derived from their name) in the heart of his city^ 
during our enterprises of the holy wv; and like? 
wise Conrade, marquis of Montferrat, the murderers 
goixkg to their execution with great pride and glory* 
that they h^ performed so brave an exploit* 


Of a monstrous Child. 

1 SHALL tell the story simply, and leave it to the 
physicians to reason upon it. Two days mo, I saw 
ft. child, which two men and a nurse, who called 
themselves the fi^ther, the unde, and the aunt of it, 
carried about to get money by showing it; because 
it w^ so strange a creature, it was, as to all the 
rest, of a common form* and could stand upon its 
feet, walk and gabble much like other children of 
the same age : it had never, as yet, taken any other 
nourishment but Irom the nurse's breasts; and what, 
in my presence, they tried to put into its mouth, it 
only chewed a little, and spit^ out again without 
swallowing ; the ory of it seemed, indeed, a little 
odd and particular, and it was just iburtera months 
old. Under the breast it was joined to another 
child, that had no head, and that had the spine of 
the back stopped up, the rest entire ; it had one 
arm shorter than the other, because it had been bro- 
ken, by accident, at their birth ; they were joined 
breast to breast, as if a lesser cluld was to daspits 
ftriQs about the neck of one somewhat biggen The 


part where they were joined together, was not abdvc 
tour fingers broad, or thereabouts, so that if you 
turned up the imperfect child, you might see the 
navel of the other below it, and the joining was be- 
tween the paps and the navel. The navel of the im- 
perfect child could not be seen,' but all tiie rest of the 
Delly ; so that all the rest that was not joined of the 
itnpeifect one, as arms, buttocks, thighs, and legs^ 
hung dangling upon the other, and might reach to 
the mid-leg. The nurse, moreover, told us, that it 
iirined at both bodies, and also that the members of 
the other were nourished, sensible, and in the same 
plight with that she gave suck to, excepting that 
they were shorter, and less. This double body, and 
the several limbs relating to one head, might be in- 
terpreted as a favourable prognostic to the king, of 
maintaining those various parts of our state under 
the union of his laws ; but lest the event should 
prove otherwise, it is better to let it alone, for in 
things already past, there is no divination : Ut quum 
facta suntj turn ad confecturam aliqua interpreta- 
Hone revocantur ;• " So as when tHey are come to 
^ pass, they should then, by some interpretation, 
** DC recalled to conjecture.*' As it is said of Epi- 
menides, "That he always prophesied of things 
Aanwiiocc past/^t ' I have lately seen a herdsman, in Me- 
•iiiu>r '*"doc, of about thirty years of age, who has no sign 
of any genital parts ; he has three holes by which he 
incessantly voids his water ; he is bearded,, has de- 
sire, and loves to stroke tfie women. . 
Wbetker Thosc that wc Call monsters, are not so to God, 
^%xm who sees, in the immensity of his work, the infinite 
properly so f^rms that he has therein comprehended : and it is to 
be believed, that this figure, which astonishes us, 
has relation to some other of the same kind, un- 
known to man. From a God of all wisdom nothing 

1 but what is good and regular proceeds \ but we do 


* Cic. de Divin. lib. ii. cap. 31. 

t Aristotle's Rhetoric, lib. iii. cap. 1% 

^F AKOER. 487 

not discern the disposition and relation ci things : 
Quad crebH videt^ non miratur^ etiamsij cur Jiat^ 
nescit : qu6d anti non videt^ idj si eoenerit ostwtum 
esse censet :* ^^ What man often sees, he does not ad- 
** mire, though he be ignorant how it comes to 
^^ pass; but, when a thing happens he never saiy 
** before, that he looks upon as a prodigy." What 
fiills out contrary to custom, we say is contrary 
to nature ; but nothing, whatever it be, is contrary 
to her. Let, therefore, this universal and natunu 
reason expel from us the error and astonishment 
^bich novelty brin^ along with it. 


Of Anger. 

X^LUTARCH is admirable throughout, but espe- cMidm 
cially where he judges of human actions : what nn^j^^'^jjf 
thinffs does he say in the comparison of Lycurgustothego- 
and Numa, upon the subject of our great folly in.J^J'JJJJ^L 
abandoning, cnildren to the care and government of m 
^eir fiithers ! " The most of our civil governments," 
lis Aristotle says, " leave, to every one, after the 
** manner of the Cyclops, the ordering of their 
" wives and children, according to their own foolish 
^ and indiscreet fancy ; and the Lacedsmonian and 
•' Cretensian are almost the only governments that 
•* have committed the discipline of children to the 
^' laws." Who does not see, that, in a state, all 
depends upon their nurture and education ? And yet 
they are indiscreetly left to the mercy of the parents, 
let them be as foolish and ill-natured as they wilL 

f Cic de DWin. lib.&. cap. 2& 

438 OP ANGBB# 

Of the iD^ . Amongst other things^ haw often have I, as I hwb 
of'^p'iSiot.. passed along the streets, had a good mind to write a 
who pani^' ^rce, to Tevenge the poor boys, whom I have seen 
iren kl^he fl^y®^» knockcd down, and dmost murdered, by 
inadoessof gome father or mother, when in their fu^, and maa 
J^**"' with rage ? You see them come out with we Mid fiuy 
sparkling in their eyes ; 

— — Rabiejecur incetidenie feruniur 
PrcecipiieSf ut saxa'jugis abrupta^ quibus tkons 
Sutfirahitur, divoque kUus pendente rece^Hi.* 

With lapid fiiiy they are headlong borne. 

As when huge stones aie from the moiiiitHiiis tora. 

(And, according to Hippocrates, ^^ The most dan« 
*^ gerous maladies are they that disfigure the counte* 
nance") with a sharp and roaring voice, very often 
against those that ate but newly come from nurse^ 
and there they are lamed and stunned with blows, 
whilst our justice takes no cognizance of it ; as if 
these were not the maims and dislocations of tho 
members of our commonwealth; 

GrcUum est qyZd patrUe c'wefn^ popuhque dedisti^ 
Sijfhcies ut fatruB sit idoneus, uttlis a^is, 
UlUis et lellorum et pads rebus agendis.^ 

It is a gift most acceptable, when 

Thou to thy country giv'st a citijBen, 

If thou lake care to teach him with applause. 

In war or peace how to mamtain her cause. 

There is no passion that so much perverts men's true 
judgment, as anger. No one would demur upon 
punishing a judge with death, who would condenm 
a criminal from a motive of anger; why then should 
fathers and school-masters be any more allowed to 
whip and chastise children in their anger ? This is 
not correction, but revenge. Chastisement is in- 
stead of physic to children ; and should we bear with 
a physician, that was animated against and enraged 
at his patient ? 

* Juvenal sat. vi. ver. 518. f Idenii sa^^v. ver. 60, &a 

t>F AKGER* 48§ 

If we would do well, we ^ould never lay a hand The fwitt 
upon our servants whilst our anger lasts ; whilst the ^n wSTm 

i)ulse beftts high, and we feel an emotion in ourselves, 5« p"">*^ 
et us defer the business ; for it is passion that com^l^rS^M 
mands, and passion that speaks tnen, not we: butj^^^'^"*^ 
fiiults seen through passion, ajj^pear much greater to they ^ la 
us than they really are, as bodies when seen through '^'^y- 
ft mist. He that is hungry uses meat, but he that 
will make use of correction should have no appetite 
to it, neither of hunger or thirst. Besides, chastise* 
ments that are inflicted with weight and discretion^ 
are much better received, and with greater benefit 
by him who suffers them. Otherwise he will not 
^hink himself justly condemned by a man transported 
with anger and fury, and will allege his master's ex-^ 
cessive passion, his inflamed countenance, his un^ 
Usual oaths, his turbulence, and rashness^ for hip 
own justification : 

Ora iumeni ka, fdgrescuni sangubw vena^ 
Lumkia Gcrgwiio sisvius igne micant.* 

Rage swelb the lips, with black blood fills the veitiSj 
And in their eyes fire worse than Gorgon's reigns. 

Suetoniust reports^ ^^ That, Caius Rabirius having 
** been condemned by Csesar, the thing that most 
*^ prevailed upon the people (to whom he had ap« * 
^ pealed) to determine the cause in his favour, was^ 
** the animosity and vehemency that Caesar had ma^ 
*^ nifested in that sentence.'^ 

Saying is one thing, and doing is another; we BxekHgm* 
to consider the sermon and the preacher apart. J|[^",^,J^ 
Those men thought themselves much in the nght, nature aii4 
who in our times nave attempted to shake the truth •^*'**^' 
of our church by the vices oi her ministers ; but she 
extracts her evidence ftom another source, for that 
jH a fi)oIish way of arguing, and would throw all 

* Ovid, de Art. lib. iii. ver. 503, 504. 
t Sueton. in Jul. Cses. sect. 12. 


430 OF ANGER. 

things into confusion. A man whose morals are 
good may hold false opinions, and a wicked man 
may preach truth, nay, though he believe it not 
himself. It is doubtless a fine harmony when doing 
and sayinff go together ; and I will not deny but that 
8a3ang, when actions follow it, is of greater autho- 
rity and efficacy, as Eudamidas said, hearing a phi- 
losopher talk of military a£^s, '^ These thmgs are 
*^ finely said,* but he that speaks them is not to be 
^^ believed, for his ears have not been used to the 
** sound of the trumpet." Arid Cleomenes, hearing 
an orator declaiming upon valour, burst out into 
laughter, at which the other being angry, " 1 
** would," said he to him, " do the same if* it were 
** a swallow that spoke of this subject ; but if it were 
** an eagle, I would willingly hear him?* I pet: 
"ceive, methinks, in the writings of the ancients, that 
he who speaks what he thinks, strikes more home 
than he that only dissembles. Hear Cicero speak of 
the love of liberty ; hear Brutus speak of it ; you 
may judge by his style that he was a man who 
GeBivfc of would purchase it at the price of his life. ' Let 
^j^ ""^ Cicerp, the father of eloquence, treat of the con- 
^ tempt of death, and let Seneca do the same; the 
first knguishingly drawls it out, so that you per* 
ceive he would make you resolve upon a thing on 
which he is not resolved himself. He inspires you 
not with courage, for he himself has none ; the other 
animates and inflames you. 

I never read an author, even of those who treat of 
virtue and of actions, that I do not curiously exa- 
mine what kind of a man he was himself. For the 
Ephori at Sparta, ^^ Seeing a dissolute fellow propose 
« •* wholesome advice to the people,t commanded him 

'^ to hold his peace, and entreated a virtuous man 
** to attribute the invention to himself, and to pro- 

*' Plutarch, in the Notable Sayings of the Lacedsemonianti 
t AuL GeU. lib. xviii. cap. S. 


•* poB§ it" Plutarch's writings, if well understood, 

sumciendy dpeak their audior; and I think I know 

his very^oui ; yet I could wish that we had some 

better account of his life. I have thus far wandered 

from my subject, upon the account of the obligation 

I have to Aulus Gellius, for having left us in writ- 

ing this story of his manners,* that brings me back 

to my subject of anger : " A slave of his, a vicious Piatafck 

*« ill-natured fellow, but who had tfie precepts of J^J^I^jJ^ 

•* philosophy sometimes rung in his ears, having, bj a tuv^ 

•' for some offence, been stripped, by Plutarch's *'^^"* . 

•• command, whilst he was whipping, muttered at 

** first that it was without ca,use, and that he had 

•* done nothing to deserve it ; but at last falling in 

** good earnest to exclaim against, and to rail at 

^* his master, he reproached him, that he did not 

/^ act as became a pnilosopher ; that he had often 

*' heard him say it was indecent to be angry, nay^ 

^^ had wrote a book to that purpose ; and, tnat cans- 

** ing him to be so cruelly beaten, in the height of his 

** rage, totallv gave the lie to his writings." To 

which Plutarcn calmly and coldly answered, " How^ 

•' ruffian,** said he, ** by what dost thou judge that 

** I am now angry ? Does either my face, my co- 

** lour, my voice, or my speech give any manifesta- 

•^ tion of my being moved ? I do not think my eye^ 

'^ look fierce, that my countenance is disturbed, or 

*' that my voice is dreadful: Do I redden? Do I 

*' foam? Does any word escape my lips of which I 

** ought to repent ? Do I start ? Do I tremble with 

** wrath? For these, I tell thee, are the true sign^ 

*^ of anger." And so, turning to the fellow that 

was whipping him, *' Lay on," said he, " whilst this 

•* gentleman and I dispute.** This is the story. 

Archytas Tarentinus, returning from a war wherein. 
he had been captain-general, found all things in hii 
house in very gr^at disorder, and his lands unculti- 
tivated, through the bad husbandry of his. receiver, 

f Nock Attic li)). I dtp. 26^ 

432 0? iiKGElU 

That cor. whohi lutViDg scht for, " Go/*^ soid hc, " if I Were 
vT/L'irghr" not m wrath I would soundly drub yoU/' Plato^ 
to be given likewise, being highly offended with ohe of his 
^*°**'' slaves, " Gave Speusippus order to chastise hini,tex- 
<' casing himself from doing it^ because he was in 
" anger.** And Carillus a LacedaBmonian, to ^ 
Helot who carried himself insolently and audaciously 
towards him, " By the gods,**^ said he, " if I was 
^ not angry, I would immediately cause thee to be 
« nut to death,** 
Anger siiti. it is a passion that is pleased with and flatters it- 
iStOT**''^*^^^' ^^^ ^^* when we have been wrongfiilly mis- 
led, have we, on the making a good defence or ex- 
cuse, been in a passion at truth and innocence itself? 
In proof of which I remember an extraordinary in- 
«tance in ancient history of antiquity: " Piso,S 
" otherwise a man of very eminent virtue, being 
*' moved against a soldier of his, for that, returning 
^ alone from forage, he could give him no account 
*^ where he had Im his comrade, took it for granted 
*^ that he had killed him, and presently condemned 

V him to death. He was no sooner mounted upon 
** the gibbet but behold his strayed companion ar- 

V rives, at which all the iarmy were exceeaing glad.; 
*^ and, after many caresses and embraces of the 
^ two comrades, the hangman carried both into 
^ Piso*s presence, all the spectators believing it 
^* would be a great pleasure even to him himself; 

but it proved quite contrary ; for, through shame 

and spite, his fury, which was not yet cool, re- 

" doubled; and, by a subtlety which his passion 

** suddenly suggested to him, he made three crimi- 

*^ nal for havmg found one innocent, and caused 

* See Tu8c. Qusest. lib. iv. cap. 36. 

f Senec de Ira, lib. iii. cap. 12. 

± Plutarch, in his Notable Sayings of the ancient kings, &c. 

§ Montaigne, for what reason I know not, gives him a better 
character than Seneca, who, de Ird, lib. i. cap. 15, says^ thoueb 
he was free from many Vices, thai he was ill-tempered and extremely" 


OF AKGER. 433 

*' them all to be dispatched; the first soldier, he^ 
^* cause sentence had passed upon him } the second^ 
*^ who had lost his way, because he was the cause 
^' of his companion's death ; and the hangman, for 
*' not having obeyed his order." 

Such as have had to do with testy women mayThefiiry;^* 
have experienced into what a rage it puts them to^J^^. 
see their anger treated with silence and coldnesSy^^i^^ ^ 
and that a man disdains U^ nourish it. The orator ^''^ 
Celius was wonderfully choleric by nature, insomuch 
that when a certain man supped in his company, of 
» gentle and sweet conversation, and who, that he 
might not move him, was resolved to approve and 
consent to all he said ; he, impatient tnat his ill- 
humour should thus spend itself without aliment, 
** For God*s sake,'*/ said he, " contradict me in 
** something, that we may be two.'** Women, in 
like manner, are only smsty that others may be 
angry with them again, in imitation of the laws of 
love. Phocion, to one that interrupted his speaking 
by sharp abuse, made no other return than silence, 
and gave him full scope to vent his spleen ; s^nd then, 
without any mention of this interruption, he pro- 
ceeded in his discourse where he had left off berore. 
No answer can nettle a man like such a contempt. 

Of the most choleric man I know in France (anger it it b^eer 
being always an imperfection, but more excusable ^/X^** 
in a soldier, for in that profession it cannot some- inrboar u 
times be avoided) I oflen say, that he is the mqst pa-"*^''' 
tient in bridling his passion, it agitates him with so 
great violence and fury : 

— * Magno veliUi cumflamma somrt 
Virgea suggerihtr cosiis undaniis ahenij 
Exultantque eestu laikes ; JurU mtus aquce vis^ 
Fumidus, aique alt? spumis exuberai amnis : 
Nee jam se capii unda, vplat vapor ater ad aiiras.f 

So when unto the boiling caldron's side 
A crackling flame of brush-wood is apply'd^ 

* Senec de Ir&y lib. iii. cap. 8. f Mneid. lib. vii. ver. 462, 4ra 
VOL, lU 2 F 

^3* O^ AXGER. 

The bubbling liquors there like springs are seen 
To swells and foain to higher tides within ; 
.Above Che brims they force their fiery way. 
Black vapours climb abft, and cloud the day. 

That he must of necessity cruelly constrain himself 
to moderate it ; and, for my part, I know no pas- 
sion which I could with so much violence to myself 
attempt to cover and support. I would not set wis- 
dom at so high a price ; and do not so much consi- 
der what he does, as how much it dosts him not to 
do worse. Another boasted to me • of his good-na- 
ture and behaviour, which is in truth very singidar ; 
to whom I replied, " That it Was indeed somethings 
" especially in persons qf so eminent quality as 
. ^* himself) upon whom every-one had their ^eyea, to 
*', appear always well-temperdd to the world ; but 
** that the principal thing was to make provision for 
** within, and for hirasdf j and that it was not, in 
*' my opinion, very well to order his business in- 
•* wardly to fret himself, which I was afraid he did, 
" for the sake of maintairiing this mask and modera- 
" tion in outward appearance." A man incorpo- 
rates anger by concealing it,^ as Diogenes told De- 
mosthenes, who, for fear of being seen in a tavern, 
withdrew himself the farther into it, ^* The more 
" you. recede, the fiirther you enter in." ♦ I would 
rather advise that a man should give his servant a 
box on the ear a little unseasonably, than torture his 
mind by putting on such a sedate countenance ; and 
had rather discover my passions than brood over 
them at my own expense ; they grow less by beiiig 
vented and expressed ; and it is much better their 
point should operate outwardly than be turned to- 
waitls ourselves : Omnia vitia in aperto leviora sunt : 
ct tunc peruiciomsima^ quum simulata sanitate ^ub* 
ddunt ;t " All vices are less dangerous when open 

• Diog. Laert. in t'le Life of Diogenes the Cynic, lib. vi. sect,- 
* t Senec. epist. 5^^ 


** to be seeiiv and then most pemkioiis when they 
" lurk under a diss^nbled temper," 

I admonish all who have authority to be angry in Rufestoiie 
my family, in tbe first place, to be sparing of theh-^^jj^';^^^!!; 
anger^ and not to lavish it upon every occasion ; for ^> «f »os«' 
that both lessehB the weight and hinders the effect ;£[?«/**■ 
of it Loud exclamation is bo customary that every 
one despises it ; and, that }H)ur clamour at a servant 
fbr a theft is not minded, because it is no more than 
what he has seen ^ou make a hundred times^ against 
htm, fi>r having ill washed a glass, or misplaced a 
irtxx>L Secondly, that they do not spend their 
iMheath in vain, but make sure that their reproof 
reach the person in fault ; for ordinarily they are apt 
to bawl before he bomes into their presence^ and 
^ntiiiue scolding an age after he is gone : 

Ei secum pehdam amentia certatJ^ 
Aiid peevish nlMdnesB with itself contends. 

They quarrel with their own shadows, and push the 
storm in a place where no one is either chastised or 
interested, but in the clamour of their voice, which 
is unavoidable. I likewise, in quarrels, condemn 
those who hxjS and vapoiur without an adversary ; 
such rodomontades are to be reserved to discharge 
upon the offending party : 

Mugitus vebiti cum prima in proelia taunts 
Terrificos ciet^ attjue irasci in comua tentatj 
/hrbcris olmixus truncal ventosque lacessit 
Ictibus^ et sparsa adptignam proludit arena.\ 

lAke angry bulls that make the valleys ring, 
Press'd to the fight, with dreadful bellowing ; 
Which whet their horns against the sturdy oak. 
Mid, kicking back their heels the winds provoke; 
And, tossing up the earth, a dust to raise. 
As furious preludes to ensuing frays. 

* Claudiah. in Eutrop. lib. i. Ter. 237* 
t JSneid. hi}, xil. ver. 103^ &c. 

436 OF ANO£R« 

The mn. When I am angry, my anger is very sharp, but 
feron!r««t withal vciy short, and as private as possible ; I am 
and htuc indeed hasty and violent, but never am beside my- 
^^ ***** self, so that I throw out all manner of injurious 
words at random, and without choiee, and never 
consider properly to dart my raillery where I 
think It will give the deepest wound ; for I com<^ 
monly make use of no other weapon in my anger 
than my tongue. My servants have a better bargain 
of me in great occasions than in little ones ; the lat^ 
ter surprise me i and the mischief of it is^ that, when 
you are once upon the precipice, it is no matter who 
gives you the push, for you are sure to go to the bot- 
tom ; the fall urges, moves, and makes haste of it* 
self. In great occasions this satisfies me, that they 
are so just every-one expects a warrantable indiour 
tion in me, and then J am proud of deceiving toeir 
expectation ; against these I gird and prepare my- 
self; they disturb m^ head, and threaten to crack 
my brain, should I give way to them. I can easily 
contain myself from entering into one of these pas- 
sions, and am strong enough, when I expect them^ 
to repel their violence, be the cause ever so great 5 
but it a passion once prepossess and seize me, it car- 
ries me away, be the cause ever so small; which 
makes me thus indent with those who may contend 
with me, viz. when they see me first mov^, let me 
alone, right or wrong, I will do tlie same for them. 
The storm is only begot by the concurrence of re- 
sentments, which easily spring from one another, 
and are not bom together. Let every one have his 
own way, and we shall be always at peace : a pro- 
fitable advice, but hard to practise. Sometimes also 
it falls out, that I put on a seeming anger, for the 
better governing of my family, without any real emo- 
tion. As age renders my humours more sharp, I 
study to oppose them ; and will, if I can, order it so, 
that for the future I may be so much the less peevish 
and hard to please, the more excuse and incnnation 
I have to be so, although I have heretofore bee|» 


reckoned amongst those that have the greatest 

A word to conclude this chapter ; Aristotle says, whether 
** That anger sometimes serves to arm virtue and p^* 'J^ 
^ vdour." It is likely it may be so ; nevertheless apimaie 
they who contradict him pleasantly answer, " That Jjjj^^*"* 
** it is a weapon of novel use ; for we move other 
^^ arms, this moves us ; our hands guide it not, it 
** is it that guides our hands ; it holds us^ we hold 
^ not if* 


Defence of Seneca and Plutarch. 

X HE familiarity I have had with these two au« 
thors, and the assistance they have lent to my age 
and to my book, which is whoUv compiled of what 
I have borrowed from them, obliges me to stand up 
for their honour. 

As to Seneca, amongst a million of pamphlets Coapvi- 
that those rtPthe pretended reformed religion dis-JJJ^g^ 
perse abroad for the defence of their cause (and uccmmiki 
which sometimes proceed from a pen so good, that ^ ^^* 
it is pity it is not employed in a better subject), I umin. 
formerly saw one, which, in order to draw a com- 
plete parallel between the government of our late 
poor King Charles the ninu aiid that of Nero, 
compares the late cardinal of Lorrain with Seneca, 
in their fortunes (as thev were both of them prime 
ministers to their princes), in their manners, condi- 
tions, and departments, as having been very near 
alike. Herein I think he does the said lord cardinal 
a great honour ; for though I am one of thos^ who 
have a great esteem for his wit, elo<^uence, and zeal 
for religion, and for the service ot his king, and 


teckon it wits his happiness to be born in an age 
wherein it was a thing so new, so rare, and also so 
necessary for the public weal, to have an ecclesiasti- 
cal person of so high birth md dignity, and so suf^ 
ficient and capable for his place ; yet, to confess the 
truth, I do not think his capacity by many degrees 
equal to Seneca's, nor his virtue either so pure, en* 
tire, or steady. 
The maii- Now this book whcreof I am speaking, to bring 
^^^^l^**^^ about its design, gives a very injurious description 
racrcr of Scucca, by reproaches borrowed from Dion the 
j5j^''^^^°" historian, whose testimony I do not at all believe j 
Seneca, for Setting asidc the inconsistency of this writer, 
?rary t^o "" ^^^> ^^^^^ having Called Seneca m one place very 
what is re- wise, and in another a mortal enemy to Nero's vices, 
nhn'bjxa-^a'^c^ him elsewhere avaricious, an usurer, ambi- 
cUiu. dous, effeminate, voluptuous, and a false pretender 
to philosophy. Seneca's virtue appears so lively 
and vigorous in his writings, and his vindication is 
80 clear against any of these imputations, and parti- 
cularly as to his riches and extraordinary expenses^ 
that I cannot believe any testimony to the contrary. 
Besides, it is much more. reasonaUe to believe the 
Roman historians in such things than the Greeks 
and foreigners. Now Tacitua and the others speak 
very honourably both of his life and doath, 9fid re- 
present him to ns as a very excelletit and virtuous 
personage in all things. I will alle^ no other re- 
proach against Dion's report but tlm$ which I can* 
mot avoid, namely, that he haa so crazy^ judgment 
in the Roman afiairs, that he dares to maintain Julius 
Caesar's cause against Pompey, and that of Anthray 
against Cicerow 
?o!Id"ai!! * ^^^ ^ °^^ come to Plutarch : John Bodinus is a 
thoir, vui. good author of our time, and of much greater 
f.Tch^"' judgment than his cotentporary class of scribblers, 
Hhom 'so mat he deserves to be careiiLUy read and consi- 
^ll^S dcred. I find him thougfe a littk hold in that pas- 
* sage of his Method of History, where he accuses 
Plutarch not only of ignorance (wherein I wou}^ 


haVe let him alone, this not being a subject for npte 
to speak to), but " That he. oft writes things incre- 
** dible and absolutely fabulous/' which are his own 
words: if he had sunply said, " That he writes 
•* things otherwise than they really are," it had been 
no great reproach ; for what we have not seen we 
receive from other hands, and take upon trust ; and 
I see. that sometimes he purposely relates the same 
story in a different manner ; as the judgment of the 
three best captains that ever were formed by Hanni^- 
hal, which is given otherwise in the life of Hami- 
nitts, and another way in that of Fyrrhus ; but to 
diai'ge him with having believed thmgs incredible 
and impossible, is to accuse the most judicious au* 
thpr in the world of want of discernment And 
this is his example : " As," says he, " when he re- Theboweii 
^' lates that a Lacedasmonian boy suffered his bowels draoiiTao' 
^^ to be torn out by a fex^cub which he had stolen, ^y ^^m 
** and kept it concealed under his coat, till he fellfoMo^b? 
*♦ down dead, rather than he would discover his ?[*»^**'«?; '* 


be an ab- 

theft."* In the first place, I find this example illsuiti and 
chosen, forasmuch as it is very hard to limit the efr [JJ^"^,***** 
forts of the faculties of the soul, whereas we have * "'^ - 
better auUiority to limit and know the strength of 
the body ; and therefore, had I been in his place, J 
should rather have chosen an example of this se- 
cond sort ; and there are some that are incredible ; 
amongst others, that which he relates of Pyrrhus, 
^^ That all over wounded as he was, he struck one 
<^ of his enemies, who was armed from head to foot, 
^^ so great a blow with his sword, that he clave him 
^^ down frqm his crown to his seat, whereby the 
** body was divided into two parts."t In this ex- 
ample I find no great miracle ; nor do I admit of 
the excuse he makes for Plutarch, by his having 
added the words '^ as it is said," by way of caution 
to suspend our beUef ; for, unless it be in things re« 

• In the Life of lUrcurgus, chap. 14 of Amyot's Ccaadatipiu 
f In the Life of FyrrhiUi cap. 12. 


ceived by authority, and from a reverence to anti- 
quity or re%ion, he would never have himself ad- 
mitted, por proposed to us to believe, things incre* 
dible in themselves ; and that the words ** as it is 
•*.said," are not put by him in this place to that ef- 
fect, is easy to be seen, because he elsewhere men* 
tions the patience of the Lacedaemonian children, 
examples happening in his time, more unlikely to 
prevail upon our faith ; as what Qcero has testified • 
the pati. before him, who, he says, was upon the spot, ** That 
i^e^^^ even to their times^ there were chilcfren found, 
BoniM <^ who, in the trial of patience which they were put 
cuidnqp. ^ ^ before the altar of Diana, su^red themselves 
^ to be there whipped till the blood ran^ down their 
** bodies, npt: only without crying out, but without 
^^ so much as a groan ; and sonie till they there vo- 
** luntarily lost their lives :'*t and that which Plu- 
tarch also, amongst an hundred other witnesses, re- 
a^esy viz. ^^ That, at a sacrifice, a burning coal be? 
" ing fallen into the sleeve of a Lacedaemonian boy, 
** as he was censing, he suffered his whole arm to 
^* be bumpd, till the smell of the broiling fledi was 
wifTery fc perccived by the assistants.*' There was nothing, 

odious to • T . X t . !.•.«• , ,-^ 

the Spar- ^.ccordmg to their custom, therein their reputation 

•""*• was more concerned, nor which would expose them 

to more blame and disgrace, than the being taken 

in thefl. I am so fully satisfied of the magnanimily 

of those people, that Plutarch's account, far from 

appearing to me, as it has to Bodinus, incredible, I 

do not think it so much as rare and strange. The 

Spartan history is full of a thousand more cruel 

and rare examples, and is indeed all miracles ii| 

this view. Marcellin^is reports, concerning thefV, 

Thievery « That, iu his timc^ there were no sort of torments 

practu^4^ ^' whlch cpuld compcl the Egyptians, when tdceii 

• Tusc. QuaPBt. lib. ii. cap. 14, 

f We have, says Cicero, seen numbers of their lads fighting 
with incredible fury, with their ^ts, heels, naiis« and teeU)» tiH 
they died, before they would own they were conquered. Life of 
fiTrhus, lib. V. cap. 27. 


^' in this misdemeanor, though a people very much by the 
** addicted to it, so much as to tefl their name."* ^p***"«- 

A Spanish peasant, being put to the rack about Fortimde 
the accomplices of the murder of the praetor Lucius ^,h f^ 
Piso, cried out in die height of the torment, ^^ That tut put to 
^* his friends should not leave him, but look oii **«*«'*■«• 
'^ without any sort of fear ; forasmuch as no pain 
^ had power to force one word of confession ironf 
^* him :"t this was all they could get from him the 
first day. The next day, as they were leading him 
it second time to the torture, rushing with violence 
out of the hands of his guards, he furiously ran his 
head against a- wall, and beat out his brains. 

Epicharis, having tired and glutted the cruelty of nmb a 
Nero's guards, and undergone their burnings, their f^i'j^* 
liastinadoes, and their engines, a whole day toge- 1«^- 
iher, without one syllable of confession of her con- 
jspiracy ; being the next day brought again to the 
^ack, with her limbs all bruised, so that she could 
not stand, she put the lace of her robe, with a run- 
ning noose, over one of the arms of her chair, and, 
suddenly slipping her head into it, with the weight 
of her own body, hanged herself.t As she had the 
'courage to die afler that manner, is it not to be pre- 
sumed that she purposely lent her life to the trial of 
iier fovtitade the day before, purely to mock the ty- 
rant, and encourage others to the like attempt ? — 
Wioever will inquire of our light^horsemeii what 
experience they have had in these our civil wars^ 
will find examples of sufiering and obstinacy in this 
miserable age, and amongst the sofl arid effeminate 
crew, worthy to be compared with those we have 
pdw related of the Spartan virtue. 

I know there have been simple persons amongst woniierfia 
jis, who have endured the soles ot their feet to be 2"*^/ 
broiled upon a gridiron, their fingers* ends smashed pewMnil* 

* Amm. Marcell. lib. xxii. cap. 16* 
f Tacit Annal. lib. iv. cap. 45. 
'" ^ IdeiDi lib. XV. cap. 57 f 


daring the to pieces wlth the cock of a pistol, and their bloodj 
fi^Mo^II*"' ^y®^ squeezed out of their heads, by force of a cora 
tatffoct twisted about their brows,, before they would so 
^^^' iDuch as consent to ransom. I saw one left stark 
naked for dead in a ditch, his neck black and swelled, 
with a halter vet about it, with which they had drag- 
ged him all night at a horse's tail ; his body pinked 
in a bundled places with stabs of daggers which had 
been inflicted, not to kill him, but to put him to 
pain, and to terrify him. Having endured all thia^ 
and even to being speechless and insensible, he re- 
solved, as he himself told me, rather to die a thou- 
sand deaths (one of which indeed, as to matter of 
gufie^ing, he had already suffered) before he would 
promise any thing ; ana yet he was one of the rich- 
est husbandmen of all the country. How many 
have been seen patiently suffer themselves to be 
burned and roasted, for opinions taken upon tru£;fc 
from others, and by them not at all understood J 
SSUtT^^^ have known a hundred and a hundred women (for 
Gascony, they say, has a certain prerogative for ob- 
stinacy) whom you might sooner have made to eat 
fire than quit an opinion they had conceived in aur 
ger. They are more exasperated by blows and coq* 
straint ; and he, tl^it forged the story of the wc^nan 
who, in defiance of all correction, threats, and baa* 
tiqadoes, ceased not to . call her husband lousy 
knave; wd when she was plunged overhead and 
ears in water, and durst JDot open her mouth iqr 
fear of being choked, could yet lift her hancls 
above her head, and make a »iga of cracking lice^ 
leigned a tale, of which in truth we every day see^^ 
manifest image in the obstinacy of women i and ob- 
stinacy is tlie sister of constancy, at least ip vigour 
and stability, 
Tb« few We are not to judge what is possible and what is not, 
poMiblnty^ according to what is credible and incredible to our ap. 
«nd iropoB- prehension, as I have said elsewhere ; and it is a great 
wb»i««y' fault, yet a fault most men are guilty of (which never- 
theless I do not mention in regard to Bodinus)^ ta 


make a diffieulty of bdieving that in another, which 
they could not or woukl not do themselves. Every 
one thinks that the sovereign stamp of human nature 
is imprinted in him, and that from him all others 
must take their rule ; and that all |n*oceedings, which 
are not like his, are feigned and fuse. Is any thing 
of another's actions or faculties proposed to him ? 
The first tlung he calls to the consultation of his 
judgment is his own example ; and as matters go 
witn him so they must of necessity do with all the 
world besides. O dangerous and intolerable folly ! 
$*or my pitrt I consider some men as very far beyond 
me, espeeially among the ancients ; and yet, though 
I clearly discern my inability to come near them by 
a mile, I do not forbear to keep them in sight, and 
tQ judge of what so much elevates them, of which 
I also perceive some seeds in myself; as I also do 
of the extreme meanness of some other minds, which 
I neither am astonished alt, nor yet do misbelieve. I 
very well perc^vQ the turns those great souls take to 
raise themselves, and I admire their grandeur ; and 
those flights that I think the bravest I am glad to 
imitate, where, though I want wing, yet my judg« 
Hient goes alooag wiih them. 

The other examjte he introduces of things incre- ^JJ^Jj'^ 
dtble, and wholly mbulons, delivered bv Plutarch, is, ^eEphorf 
♦* Tliat Agesilaus* was fined by the Sphori for having ^j['"*h|IJ; 
^^ too far engrossed the hearts and affections of the reinmo'tiM 
<• cfttiz^^s to himsetf alone.'' And herein I do not see ^^Ii^, 
what sign of fidsity is to be found ; but so it is, that 
Plutarch there speaks of things that must needs be 
better knqwn to him than to us : and it was no new 
thiog in Greece to see men punished and exiled only 
for being too acceptable to the people : witness th^ 
Qfltraeism and petalism. 

There is yet in this place another accusation laid whether 
agamst Plutarch, which I cannot well digest; where he f^hu^l 
says, *^ That he has &ithfully matched Romans withraiieiof^e 

^ In the Life of AgetOaufl, cap, 1. 


GrwtiimiHi <c Romans, and Greeks with Greeks j but not the R<v 
wM unjust ^^ mans with the Greeks : witness, says he. Demos- 
^j^Jte!^ee. ** thcncs and Cicero, Cato and Aristides, SyDa and 
to the lat. *^ Lysander, Marcellus and Pek>pidas, and Pompej 
^^' ** and Agesilaus.*' Supposing that he has favoured 
the Greeks in giving them companions so unequal, 
which is really to attack what in Plutarch is most ex- 
cellent, and most to be commended ; for in his pa- 
rallels (which is the most admirable piece of all his 
works, and with which, in my opinion, he was him- 
self the most pleased) the fidelity and sincerity of 
his judgments equal their depth and weight. lie is 
a philosopher that teaches us virtue : let us see- whe- 
ther we cannot defend him from this reproach of 
prevarication and falsitr. All that I can imagine 
eotild give occasion to this censure, is the great and 
shining lustre of the Roman names, with which we 
are captivated : it does not seem likely to us that 
Demosthenes could rival the glory of a consul, pro- 
consul, and questor of that great republic ; but, if a 
man consider the truth of the fact, and the men in 
themselves, which is Plutarch's chiefest aim, and more 
to balance their manners, their natures, and parts 
than their fortunes, I think, contrary to Bodinus, that 
Cicero and the elder Cato come shcMt of the men 
with whom they are compared. I would sooner, for 
his purpose, have chosen the example of the younger 
Cato compared with Phocion, for in this couple 
there would have been a more likely disparity to the 
Roman's advantage. As to Marcellus, Sylla, and 
Pompey, I very well discern that their emloits of 
war are greater and more full of pomp and giory than 
those of^he Greeks whom Plutarch compares with 
them ; but the bravest and most virtuous actions, no 
more in war than elsewhere, are not always the most 
renowned : I oflen see the names of captains ob- 
scured by the splendor of other names of less merits 
witness Labienus, Ventidius, Telesinus, and several 
others ; and, to take it that way, were 1 to complain 
QO ih^ behalf of the Greeks, might I not say that 


Camillus was much less comparable to Themistodes^ 
the Gracchi to Agis^ and Cleomenes and Numa to 
Lycurgus? But it is folly to juc^ of things that have 
so many aspects at one view* 

When Plutarch compares them, he does not forp|„^^|^ 
all that make them equal. Who could more ele-didnot 
gandy and sincerely have marked their distinction ?J^,i^* 
Does he insinuate thatihe victories, martial achieve* bctwee* 
ments, the power of the armies conducted by Pom-JJ^^J^ 
pey, and his triumphs, were equal to those of Age- red to^o 
sdkus ? " I do not believe,*'* says he, " that Xeno-'*"**^* 
^ phon himself, if he were now living, though he 
<c was allowed to write whatever pleased him, to the 
^ advantage of Agesilaus, would dare to bring them 
^ into comparison/' M^ere he speaks of comparing 
LyBander to Sylla, •* There is,t*' says he, " no 
^ comparison, either in the number of victories, or 
^< in the hazard of battles; for Lysander only won 
^ two naval victories, &c/' This is not to derogate 
from the Romans ; for, havingonly simply named them 
with the Greeks, he can have done them no injury, 
what disparity soever there may be between them: 
and Plutarch does not weigh them entirely one against 
another ; there is no preference in the main ; he only 
compares the pieces and circumstances one after 
anotiier, and judges of every one separately ; where- 
fore, if any one would convince him of partiality, he 
ought to pick out some one of those particular judg- 
ments, or say, in general, that he was mistaken in 
comparing such a Greek to such a Roman, when there 
were others more fit for a pareUel. 

: * In the Compatiaon of Pompey with Agesflaus. 
f In hit Comparison of Sylla and Lysander. 



The Story of Spurine. 

Philosophy thinks she has not m emplbyea 
her talent, when she has given the sovereignty of the 
soul, and the authority of checking our appetites, to 
whetiier reason. Of* these,, they who judge thcut there are 
the amor- none more violent than those wnich love breeds^ are 
^t^l^ of the opinion, " That they seiw both bod^ and 
^^iiT** " ^^^^ "*^ possess the whole man ;'* to that health 
^ itself depends upon them^ and is the medicine some^ 
times constrained to pimp for them : but it might be 
said, on the contrary, that the mixture of the body 
brings an abatement to them, for such desires are 
subject to satiety, and capable of material remedies. 
MMBfl Many, being determined to rid their souls from the 

to continual alarms of this appetite, have made use of inci^ 
sion and amputation of tne restless and u|mily mem* 
bers : others have subdued their force ancnudour, by 
the frequent application of cold things^ as snow and 
vinegar : the sackcloths of our ancestors were used to 
this purpose, which was a cloth woven of horse-^hair^ 
whereof some made shirts, and others girdles to tor* 
ture their reins. A prince, not long ago^ told me, 
^^ That, in his youth, upon a solemn festival in the 
^^ court of king Francis L where every-body was 
^ finely dressed, he would needs put on his father's 
^* hair-shirt, which was still kept in the house ;" butv 
how great soever his devotion was, he had not pa<» 
tience to wear it till night, and was sick a lonff 
time afler ; adding widial, ^* That he did not think 
** there could be any youthful heat so fierce, that 
*^ the use of this receipt would not mortify;" yet, 
perhaps, he never tried the most violent ; for expe- 
rience shows us, that such emotions oflen happen 
under coarse beggarly clothes, and that a hair-shirt 
does ^fii always render tho3e innocent that wear it. 



' Xenocrates proceeded with greater severity in this n«wXeno- 
afiuif; for his disciples, to make trial of his conti-^vodhir 
Itency, having slipped Lais, that beautiful and fa- contines- 
mous courtezan, into his bed, quite naked, Xeno- ^^' 
crates finding, without the charms of her beauty, 
and her alluring philtres, that, in spite of his 
reason, and philosophical rules, tihere was a war ri- 
sing in his flesh, he caused those members of his to 
be burned, that he found consenting to this rebel* 
lion :* whereas the passions, whieh wholly reside in 
the soul, as ambition, avarice, and the rest, find the 
reason much more to do, because it cannot there be 
irelieved but by its own means ; neither are those ap* 
petites capable of satiety, but grow sharper and in* 
crease by fruition. 

The sole example of Julius Caesar may suffice to camr'cejr. 
demonstrate to us the disparity of those appetites ; ^^tM 
for nevet was man more addicted to amorous deUght; ^^^^^"^ 
*of which one proof is, the delicate care he took (^tibJ^Ld 
his person, to such a degree as to use the most las- »»»n>o«^^ 
civious means to that end, which were dien prac- 
tised, vu^, to have the hairs of his body twiched oiF 
by pincfers, and to be daubed all over with delicate 
perfumes ; and he was a beautiful person in himself 
ofa&ir complexion, tall and sprightly, fuU-faced, 
with brisk ha^le eyes, if we may believe Suetonius ;t 
for the statues that we see at Rome, do not, in all 
points, answer this description. Besides his wives, 
which he four times changed, without reckoning the 
amours of his childhood with Nicomedes, king of 
Bithynia, he had the maidenhead of the renowned 
Cleopatra, Queen of lEgypt : witness the little Cesario 
that he had by her.t He also made love to Eunoe, 
queen of Mauritania ; and, at Rome, to Posthumia, 
the wife of Servius Sulpitius j to Lollia, the wife of 
Gabinius : to Tortulla, the wife of Crassus ; and 
even to Mutia, wife to the great Pompey ; which 

* Dioe. Laert in the Life of Xenocrates, lib. iv. sect. 7. 

f In the Life of Julius Ciesar, sect. 45. . 

i Plutird^ in^ihe Life of Ceesair, c^i. 13, sect 50. 


iKras the reason, the Roman historians say, that She 
was repudiated by her husband, which Phitafch ownsr 
he did not know : and the Ctirios, both father and 
son, afterwards reproached Pompey, when he mar* 
ried Csesar's daughter,. ^' That he had made himself 
^^ son-in Jaw to a man who had made him a cuckold^ 
^^ and one that he himself was wont to call iEgys- 
** tus."* Besides all these, he kept Servilia, Cato's 
sister, and mother to Marcus Brutus, from whence 
every one believes the great affection he had to Bru* 
tus proceeded. So that I have reason, methinks, to 
take him for a man extremely given to this debauch^ 
and of a very amorous constitution: but the other 
passion of ambition, with which he was also exceed* 
mgly infected, arising in him to contend witli the 
former, soon compelled it to give way. 
tW enm. And here calling to mind Mahomet, who subdued 
pie of Ma- Constantinople, and totally exterminated the Gre* 
ther^^t cian name, I do not know where these two passions 
tre so evenly balanced, being equally an indefatiga- 
ble lecher and soldier : but ^ere they both meet in. 
his life, and jostle one another, the quarrelsome pas- 
sion always gets the better of the amorous : and thi^, 
though it was out of its natural season, did not re- 
gain an absolute sovereignty over the other, till he 
came to be very old indeed^ and unable, to undergo 
the fatigues of war. 
A notable What is related, for a contrary example, of Ladi- 
^^ril^i****^ slaus, king of Naples, is very remarkable j that being 
fov^^be a great captain, valiant and ambitious, he proposed 
tfeMJl^bi. ^^ himself, for the principal end of his ambition, the 
tioa. execution of his pleasure, and the enjoyment of some 
rare beauty which he obtained, and thereby his 
death ; for havinj^, by a close and tedious siege, re- 
^ duced the city of Florence to so great distress, that 
the inhabitants were glad to capitulate ; he was con- 
tent to set them free, providea| they would deliv^ 
up to him a most beautifid virgin^ whom he had 

* Suetonius, in C«Kir*sXi|i^ lect iSQ. 


keard of in their city. They were forced to yield her to 
him, and by a private injury to avert the public ruin. 
She was the daughter of a physician of eminence in 
his time, who, finding himself involved in so foul a 
necessity, resolved upon a high attempt ; for as every 
one was setting a hand to trick up his daughter, and 
to adorn her with ornaments and jewels, to render 
her agreeable to this new lover; he also gave her a 
handkerchief, most richly wrought, and of an exquisite 
perfume Tan implement they never go without in those 
parts), wnich she was to make use of in their first ap< 
proaches. This handkerchief, which he had (he art 
to poison, coming to be rubbed between the chafed 
flesh and open pores, both of the one and the other, 
so Suddenly infused its poison, that their warm sweat 
soon turned into a cold sweat, and they expired in > 
one another's arms. 

But I return to Caesar: his pleasures never made''**P*<»- 
him steal one minute, nor turn one step aside &om\^^lww 
occasions that offered for his aggrandisement. ThatJ*|^J^ 
passion was so sovereign in him over ^]1 the rest,Tiewsof 
and with such absolute authority poi^sess^d his soul,,**^2J2|J** 
that it guided him at pleasure. In earnest, it trou-teff. 
bles me, when (as to every thing else) I consider the 
greatness of this man, and the wonderful parts where- 
with he was endued, lesirned to such a degiee, in ^ 
sorts of knowledge, that there is hardly any one 
science of which he has not written : he was sogrea^ 
an orator, that many have preferred his eloquence 
to that of Cicero : and he, I conceive, did not think 
himself inferior, to him in that particular ; for his two 
Anti-Catos were chiefly written to pounter-balancethe 
eloquei\ce that Cicero had expended in his Cato. As 
to the rest, was ever soul so vigilant, so active, and 
sopatient of labour as his? And, doubtless, it was 
embellished with many rare seeds of virtue, I mean, 
innate, and not assumed* 

He was singular^ so^er, and so far from being Hi. .inp^ 
delicate in his diet, Oppius relates, " That, having *"»•'»''• 
" one day at table physical instead of common oii,**^' 

VOL. II, 2 G 


^^ in some sauce set before him, he eat heartily of it^ 
*' that he might not put his entertainer out of coun- 
" tenance."* Another time he caused his baker to 
be whipped, for serving him with a finer sort of 
bread tnan common. Cato himself was wont tosay 
of him, ^* That he was the first sober man that took 
** a course to ruin his country/* And as to the same 
Cato's calling him, one day, drunkard, it fell out 
thus : being both of tjiem in the senate, at a time 
iehen Cataline's conspiracy was in question, of which 
CaBsar was suspected, one came and brought him a 
letter sealed up : Cato,t believing it was some intd- 
ligence from the conspirators, " Called to him to de* 
^^ liver it ipto his hand,** which CaBsar was constrain^ 
ed to do to avoid farther suspicion. This proved to 
be a love-letter, tliat Servilia, Cato's sister, had writ- 
Ceiareaii-ten to him; which Cato having read, he threw it 
^drtnk- )y2Lck to him, saying, " There, drunkard, take it.'* 
Cato, In the This, I Say, was rather a Word of disdain and anger^ 
^^^' than an express reproach of this vice, as we often 
rate those that anger us, with the first injurious words 
that come into our mouths, though by no means ap- 

Elicable to those we are offended at. To which may 
e added, that the vice which Cato cast in his dish^ 
is wonderfully near akin to that wherein he had 
VenMHc. caught Caesar; for Bacchus and Venus, according to 
Sc?husr the proverb, " Agree hke hand in glove ;'* but, with 
me, Venus is most sprightly when I am most sober, 
Cesar's The examples of his mildness and clemency to 
titwds his t^ose by whom he had been offended, are infinite ; I 
enemies, mean, besidcs those he gave during the time of the 
civil wars, which, as plainly enough- appears by his. 
writings, he practised to cajole his enemies, and to 
make them less afraid of his future dominion and vic- 
tory. But I must also say, that if these examples are 
not sufficient proofs of his natural good temper, they, 
at le^st, manifest a marvellous confidence and mag« 

* Csf ar*s Life by Suetonius. 

f Plutarch in the Life of Cato of Utica, cap. 7« 

THE 8T0RT 01^ SPURINA. 48% 

hanimity in this persoriage. He had often sent back 
whole armies, after having overcome them, to his 
fenemies, without rartsom, or deigning so much as to 
bind them by oath, if not to favour him, at least no 
niore to bear arms against him. He has three or four 
times taken some of Pompey's captains prisoners, 
and as oft set them at liberty.* Pompey declared 
all those to be his enemies, who did not follow him 
to the war; and he proclaimed all those to be 
his friends, who sat still, and did not actually 
take arms against him. To such captains of his, as 
ran away from him to alter their condition, he sent, 
moreover, their arms, horses^ and equipage. The 
pities he had taken by force, he left at ftill liberty to 
take which side they pleased, imposing ho other gar- 
rison Upon them, but the memory of his mildness and 
clemency. He gave strict charge, on the day of his 
great battle of Pharsalia, that, without the utmost 
necessity, no one should lay a hand upon the citizens 
of Rome. Thescj in my opinion, were very hazard- 
ous proceedings ; and it is no wonder if those, in 
our civil war, who, like him, fight against the ancient 
state of their country, do not follow his example ; 
they are extraordinary means, such as only Caesar's 
fortune and his admirable foresight could happily 
conduct. When I consider his incomparable magna- 
nimity, I excuse victory, that it could not disengage 
itself from him, even in that most unjust and wicked 
cause. To return to his clemency ; we have many 
strong examples of it in the time of his government, 
when all things being reduced to his power, he had 
ho more need to dissemble. Caius Memmius had 
wrote very severe orations against him, which he as 
sharply answered ; yet he soon after used his interest 
to make him consul. Caius Calvus, who had com- 
posed several injurious epigrams against him, having 
employed his fiiends to mediate a reconciliation 
witn him, Ca»arj of his own accmd, wrote first to 

* Ctffiar^B Life by SuetOBius, sect. 75. 
2g 2 


him. And our good Catullus, who had so ruffled 
him under the name of Mamurra, coming to make 
his excuses to him, he made him, the sapne day, syp 
with him at his table. Having intelligence of some 
who spoke ill of him, he did no more but, in a pub- 
lic oration, declare that he had notice of it. He also 
less feared his enemies than he hated them. Some 
conspiracies and cabals, that were made s^gaipst his 
life, being discovered to him, h$ satisfied himself 
in publishii^g, by proclamation, " That they were 
** known to him,*' without farther prosecuting the 

As to the respect he had to his friends ; Caius Op- 

,pius being with him upon a journey, and finding 

mmselfill, *' He left him the only lodging he had 

^^ for himself, and lay all night upon the hard 

** ground in the open air.** As to his justice : " He 

** put a beloved servant of his to death for lying with 

^' a noble Roman's wife, though there was no com- 

** plaint made.** Never had man more moderation 

in nis victpry, nor more r^qlution in his adverse 


Mbmi?* -^^^ ^^^ these good inclinations were stifled and 

ih^oow spoiled by his furipus ambition, by which he suf^ 

wir'" mo^ ^^^P^ himself to be so far transported, a man may 

•Di, and easily maintain, that this passion was the rudder 

JJ*^i^*^ whereby all Jiis actions were steered : of a liberal man^ 

wi|h aii° it made him a public robber, to supply his bounty 

good meo. j^j profusion, and made him utter this vile and most 

unjust saying, " That, if the most wicked and pro- 

^^ fligate persons in tl^e world had been faithful i^ 

f* serving him towards his advancement, he would 

** cherish and prefer them to the utmost of his poy^r, 

** as much as tlie best of men :** it intoxicated him 

with such excessive vanity, that he dared to boast, 

in the presence of Jiis fellow-citizens, " That he had 

^^ made the great commonwealth of Rome a name 

" without body, and without form;** and to say, 

" That his answers, for the future, should stand jfor 

I* laws J*' and also to receive the body of the senate^ 


coming towards him, sitting ; to suffer himself to be 
adored, and to have divine honours paid to him in 
his own presence. To conclude : this sole vice, in 
my opinion, spoiled, in him, the richest fund of 
good-nature that ever vfM, and has rendered his 
name abominable to all good men, for aiming to 
erect his glory upon the ruins of his country, and 
the subversion oi the greatest and most flourishing 
republic the world shall ever see. There might, on the 
contrary, many examples be produced of great men, 
whom pleasures have made neglect the conduct of 
their afl&irs, as Mark Antony, and others ; but where - 
love and ambition should be in eaual balance, aild 
come to jostle with equal forces, I make no doubt 
but the last would have the turn of the scale. 

But to return to my subject : it is a very great An extii: 
point to bridle our appetites by the dictates of rea- f^^'^Tor 
son, or, by violence, to constrain our members a yooof 
within their duty: but to lash ourselves for our^'^l^ 
neighbour's interest, and not only to divest ourselves features, 
bf the charming passion that tickles us^ and of the^ed^b^^ 
pleasure we feel m being agreeable to others, andf»c«*» 
courted and beloved of every one ; but also to con-sappren 
ceive a hatred and aversion to the charms which pro- ^''fiJ*"?.^ 
duce that effect, and to condemn our beauty because rachbLaty 
it inflames another^ is what, I confess, I have met^'fj*^^ 
with few examples of. This, indeed, is one : SpUrtboMTuwe 
rina, a young man of Tuscany, coniuw"?* 

Qualissemma micaifvhmm qucB dwidii aunani 
Aut coUo-decuSy out capiii, vel quale per ariem 
htthisum buxof aut Oridd Tereoiniho, 
Lucei elrur.* 

A& shines a gem id yellow gold enchac'd; 
. On neck or .head for decoration plac'd ; 
Or as the iv'ry is improv*d by foil, 
Amidst the sable jet's contrasting soil. 

*^ being endowed with singular beauty, and so ex« 
eessive^ that the chastest eyes could jiot chastely 

* ^neid. lib. x. yer. 1S4| &c. 


4S4 TBX ST0B7 OF SBURIlffi^ 

'^ behold its lustre ; displeased with himself for Ic»v4 
^^ ing so much flame and fever as he everyvehem 
^' kindled, without relief, entered into a furious spite 
^' against himself, and those rich endowments nature 
^^ had so liberally conferred upon him ; as if a man 
^^ were responsible to himself for the faults of others : 
'* and purposely flashed and disfigured, with many 
^^ wounds and scars, the perfect symmetry and pio^ 
'^ portion that nature had so curiously imprinted lA 
" his face.''* To give my free opinion, I more ad- 
mire than honour such actions : such excesses are 
enemies to my rules. 
Wherein The desigu was conscientious and good, but, t 
wL w^" - ***^^^» ^ ^^*^^^ defective in prudence. What if his de- 
Tbie. ^^' formity served afterwards to make others guilty g£ 
the sin of hatred, or contempt, Of of envy, at Sie glory 
of so commendable an action ; or of calumny, inter* 
preting this humour a mad ambition ? Is there any 
form from whence vice cannot, if it will, extract oc- 
casion to exercise itself one way or another i It l)ad 
been more just, and also more noble, to have made o£ 
these gifts of God a subject of exemplary virtue and 
regularity. ' 

Tbey who They who secrete themselves from the common 
themselves officcs, from that infinite number of crabbed and dou- 
from the ble-miudcd rides that fetter a man of strict honesty 
offi"!w°of in civil life, are, in my opinion, very discreet, what 
ifecicty peculiar severity soever they impose upon tbemsotved 
betrbar- i" SO doiug* It Is, iu some sort, a l(ind of dying to 
Rain. avoid the pain of living well. Thej may have other 
reward, but the re^vard of the diflBeulty I never could 
think they had, nor that in uneasiness there can be 
any thing beyond keeping himsielf upright in the 
waves of the busy w^prld, truly and exactly perform- 
ing and answering all parts of his duty. It is per- 
haps more easy for a man to live clear from the wnole 
sex, than to maintain himself exactly in all points 
in the company of his wife ; and a man niay more 

* Val. Max. in Externis, lib* iv. sect. 1. 


incuriously sli{< into want than abundance, duly dis- 
pensed. Custom, carried on according to reason^ 
nas in it more of sharpness than abstinence has : mo- 
deration is a virtue that has more work than suffer- 
ance. The welKliving of Scipio has a thousand 
fi»hions, that of Diogenes but one. This as much 
excels the oixlinary lives in innocence, as the most 
Exquisite and accomplished excel that in utility and 


Observations an Julius Casar^s Methods of making 


xT is said of many great leaders, " That they have cw»r'i 
^* had certain books in particular esteem, as Alexandelr ^'^'p*^ 
** the Great, Homer ; Scipio Africanus, Xenophon ; per letsoK 
»* Marcus Brutus, Polybius ; Charles V, Philip At^^^^J 
*^ Comines ; and it is said, that in our times, Ma- 
" chiaval is elsewhere in repute ;" but the laite mar- 
shal Strossy, who took Caesar for his man, doubtless 
made the best choice j for in truth this book ought 
td be the breviary of every great soldier, as being 
the true and sovereign pattern of the military art. 
And, moreover, God knows with what grace and 
beauty he has embellished that rich subject, with 
Such pure, delicate, and perfect expression, that, 
in my opinion, there are no writings in the world 
Comparable to his in this respect. I will here record 
isome rare and peculiar passages of his wars that re- 
main in my memory. 

His army being in some consternation upon the w*'^ Capsar 
rumour that was spread of the great forces which Ju^^ri^^ 
king Juba was leading against him, instead of abat-j****" *- 
ing the apprehension which his soldiers had con- theTupcrior 
ceived at the news, and of lessening the strength of^^^ ^° ^ 

456 jtJLros cjbsar's art of war. 

the enetey^ having called them all together to re« 
animate and encourage them, he took a quite con- 
trary, method to what are used to do ; for he told 
th^m, " That they should trouble themselves no 
" more with inquiring after the enemy's strength, 
" for that he was certainly informed of it:"* and 
then he mentioned a number much surpassing both 
the truth and the report that was rumoured in his 
army. In this he followed the advice of Cyrus ia 
Xenoplion ; forasmuch as the imposition is not of so- 
great importance to find an enemy weaker than we 
expected, as it is to find him really very strongy 
after having been made to believe th^ he was 
The ready It was his way to accustom his soldiers simply to 
ofcw^^s obey, \vithout taking upon them to control, or so 
•oidiers. much as to speak of their captain's designs ; which 
he never communicated to them but uj>on the point 
of execution ; and he took a delight, if they dised- 
yered any thing of what he intended, immediately 
to change his orders to deceive them ; to which pur- 
pose, when he had assigned his quarters in a parti- 
cular place, he often passed forward and lengthened 
his march, especially if it was foul weather, 
liow he The Swiss, in the beginning of his wars in Gaul, 
^w^y, l!r having sent to him to Fernanda free passage through 
wier (be fte Roman territories, though he resolved to hii;ider 
larpHse^ them by force, he, nevertheless, spoke kindly to tlie 
them. messengers, and took some days to return an an- 
swer, in order to make use of that respite for assem- 
bling his array. These silly people did not know 
how good a hustand he was of his time ; for he of- 
ten repeats it, " That it is the excellency of a cap- 
" tain to seize the critical juncture ;" and his dili- 
gence in his exploits is, in truth, unparalleled and 
the Tirtwe As he was not very conscientious in faking ad- 
he required y^jjj^gg ^f ^^ cucmy uudcr colour of a treaty of 

* SuetoniuSyin his Life of Julius Ceeaar, cap. 66. 


^^eement^ he was ds little in this, that he required *>; <>» ^u 
Hd other virtue in a soldier but valour^* and seldom *'*"* 
punished any other &ults but mutiny and disobe- 

After his victories, he often gaVe them all manner Tii«iicraf:e 
of liberty, dispensing them, for some time, ftoni|n^J'^'^ 
the rules of military discipline, saying, *^ That he had tbJLr 
*^ soldiers so well trained up, that, though powdered 
^^ and per&med, they would run furiously to bat- 
« tie/* 

In truth, he loved to have them richly armed, ne \6y^ 
and their furniture to be engraved, gilt, and silvered *^|,^j "^J^ 
oyer, to the end that the car^ of saving their arms nciiiy arm: 
might engage them to a more obstitiate defence. ^' 

When he harangued them^ he called them by theThetuiebe 
name of fellow-soldiers, as we do to this day; which J»"««JJ^^ 
his successor Augustus reformed, supposing he had ^ ^ 
done it upon necessity, and to cajole tiiose who only 
followed him as volunteers : 

Rheni mihi Ccesar in undisj 

Dux eraty hie sodusj f acinus quos inqiiwat, tequat.f 

Great Csesar, who my gen'ral did appear 
Upon the hanks of Rhine, 's my fellow here ; 
For wickedness, where once it hold does take. 
All men whom it defiles does equal make. 

But that this carriage was too low for the di^ty of 
an emperor and general of an army ; and therefore 
h6 brought up the custom df calling them soldiers 

With this courtesy Caesar mixed great severity, to m»ttswrtis 
keep them in awe. The ninth legion having muti-*^®jjj['"*' 
niea near to Placentia, he igrlominiously cashiered 
them, though Pompey was yet on foot, and did not 
receive them into favour till after many supplica- 
tions : he quieted them more by authority and bold- 
Hess than by gentle ways. Where he speaks of his 
passage over the Rhine towards Germany, he says, 

* Suetoniusy in the Life of Julius Cacear, cap. 67. 
t Lucan, Ifb. v. ver. 2S9. 


458 itiLius cjksar'6 art op WAii; 

" That, thinking it unworthy of the honour of Roi- 
^^ man people to waft over his army in vessels, he 
** built a bridge, that they might pass over dry 
" foot."* There it was that he built that wonder^ 
fill bridge, of which hfe gives so particular a descri^ 
tion } for he is no where so fond of displaying his 
own actions, as in representing to us the subtlety of 
his invention in such mechanical performances. 
tthJrtSlToi ^ ^^^ ^^ observed this, that he was fond of giv- 
diera b».^'ing exhortations to the soldiers before a battle ; for 
[{J^^*'^^ where he would i^ow, that he was either surprised, 
impor? or reduced to a necessity of fighting, he always 
"*** brings in this, ** That he had not so much as leisure 
" to harangue his army/* Before that great battle 
with those of Tournay, " Caesar'^t says he, " having' 
** given order for every thing else, presently ran 
*• where fortune carried him to encourage his men, 
^^ and meeting the tenth legion, had no more tiirie 
*' to say any thing to them but this, that they 
^^ should remember their wonted valour, and not b^ 
** astonished, but bravely sustain the enemy's 
^^ shock:" and, as the enemy already approached 
within a dart's cast, he gave the signal pf battle ; apd, 
going suddenly thence elsewhere to encourage 
others, he found that they were already engaged. 
By his own account, his tongue indeed did him no- 
table service u{)on several occasions ; and his military 
eloquence was in his own time so highly reputed, 
that many of his army collected his harangues, by 
which means there were volumes of them preserved 
a long time after him. He had so peculiai* a grace 
in speaking, that they who wefre particularly ac- 
quainted with him, and Augustus amongst others, 
hearing those orations read, could distinguish eveil 
the phrases and words that were none of his. 
l%erapidi. The first time that he went out of Rome with any 
iar^f^i^ public command, hd arrived in eight days at the 

* De Bello Gallico, lib.- iv, cap. S^ 
f Ideniy lib. ii. cap^ S< 

JULIUS G jebar's, Art op wAili 459 

nver Rhone,* having with him in his coach a secre- gr^ m ku 
tary or two before mm, \irho were continually writ-^^UlSil*' 
ing; and one that carried his sword behind him. 
Yet, as if he had nothing to do but to drive on, hav* < 
mg been every-where victorious in Gaul, he speedily 
left it, and, following Pompey to Brundusium, in 
eighteen days time he subdued all Italy, returned 
from Brundusium to Rome ; from Rome he marched 
into the very heart of Spain, where he surmounted 
extreme difficulties in the war against Afranius and 
Petreius, and in the long siege of Marseilles ; from 
thence he proceeded to Macedonia, beat the Roman 
army at rharsalia, passed from thence, in pur- 
suit of Pompey, into Egypt, which he also subdued ; 
from Egypt he went into Syria and the territories of 
Pontus, where he fought Pharnaces; from thence 
into Africa, where he defeated Scipio and Juba; 
and again brushed through Italy into Spain, where 
he defeated Pompey's sons : 

Ocyor et cadiflammis^ et tigridefoeta.f 
Ac veluti mo/Atii saxam de vertice praceps % 
Cum ruU avuUum ventOy seu turbiaus imber 
Prgiuity Old annis solvit sublapsa vetustaSy 
RriMtr in abruptum magno mons imptohis actu, 
Ekidtatque solo^ silvas, armentaf virosqiie, 
Involvens s^cum. 

Swifter than lightning, or the furious course 
Of the fell tigress when she is a nurse. 
As when a fragment from a mountain torn 
By raging tempests, or a tonent borne ; 
Or sapp'd by time, or loosen'd from the roots, 
Prone through the void the rocky ruin shoots ; 
Rolling from crag to crag, from steep to steep, 
Down sink at once the shepherds and the sheep; 
Involved alike, they rush to nether ground, ' 
Stunn'd with the shock they fall, and, stunn'd, from earth 

Speaking of the siege of Avaricum, he says, He wouiif 
** That it was his custom to be night and day with«?««^f«^y 

* Plutarch, in Cosar's Life, chap. 5* 
\ Lucan. lib. y. ver. 405. 
t Virg. Mn. lib. xi. ver. 681. 

460 JULIUS Cesar's art of war; 

fbin^bim. ^' the pioneers/'* In all enterprises of conse^ 
^^' quence he reconnoitred in person, and never brou^ 
his army to a place which he had not first viewed* 
And, if we may believe Suetonius, t when he invaded 
England, ^^ He was the first man that sounded the 
" passage." 
He liked to Hc was wont to Say, " That he more valued a vic- 
iM^n^^^ tory obtained by stratagem than force/' And in 
therthui the War against Petreius and Afiranius, fortune pre- 
**'**'^ senting him with a very manifest occasion of advan- 
tage, he declined it, saying, " That he hoped with 
** a little more time, and less hazard, to overthrow 
" his enemies." He there also performfed a notable 
part, in commanding his whole army to pass the 
river by swimming, without any manner of ne- 
cessity : 

■ • RaptiUqtie mens in prcelia miles 
-Quodfugiens timuisset iter ; mox vda receptis 
Memlrafouent armis, gelidosque a gurgite^ cursu 
Restitumtt arlus.X 

The soldiers rush through a pass to fight, 
. Which would have terr^v'd tnem in a flight ; 
Tlieh with their arms theu* wet liinhs coyer o'er/ 
And their nuinb'd joints by a swift race restore. 

#»nor« I find him a little more wary and considerate in 
*"^""" hii''^^ enterprises than Alexander, for the latter seems 
Mt^rinfs to seek and run headlong upon dangers like an im- 
2|y ^"' petuous torrent, which rushes against and attacks 

every thing it meets, without choice and discre-* 


Sic iauri^formis volvitur AufiduSf 
Qui regna Dauni perfiuii Appuli^ 
JJum scevii horrendamque cultis 
DUuviem meditatur agris,^ 

So the biforked Aufidus amain 

Roars loud and foams along th' Apulian plain, 

* be Bell. Gall. lib. vli. cap. 3. f In Jul. Cm. sect. 58.* 

1 Lncan. lib* iv..Ter. 151 , &c. 

f Hou lib. iv. ode H, ver. 25, See, 

JULIUS cjesar's art of war. ik6l 

When it with rage and swelling floods abounds, 
Threat'ning a deluge to the tilled grounds. 

And indeed he was a general in the flower and 
first vigour of life, whereas Caesar took to the wars 
at a ripe and well-advanced age. Moreover, Alex- 
ander was of a more sanguine, hot, and choleric 
constitution, which he also inflamed with wine, from 
which Csesar was verjr abstinent ; yet, where neces* *»'» ^^^ 
sity required, never did any man venture his person !!!^r^, 
more than he : and, for my part, methinks I read in J' *^*2L 
many of his exploits a certain resolution to throw gtr! 
himself away, to avoid the shame of being overcome^ 
In his gretat battle with those of Toumay, he charged 
up to the head of the enemies without his shield, 
\men he saw the van of his army begin to give 
ground ; which he did also at several other times. 
Hearing that his men were surrounded, he passed 
through the enemy's army in disguise, to encourage 
them with his presence.* Having crossed over to 
Dyrrachium with a very slender force, and seeing 
the remainder of his army, which he left to An* 
thony'd conduct, slow in following him, he attempted 
alone to repass the sea in a very great storm ; and 
stole away to reassemble the rest of his forces, the 
ports on the other side being seized by Pompeyv who 
was master of all that sea. As to what he performed 
by main force, there are very many exploits too 
hazardous for the rational part of war ; for with how 
weak a force did he undertake to subdue the king- 
dom of Egypt, and afterwards to attack the forces 
of Scipio and Juba, tetii times greater in number 
than his ! those people had I know not what more 
than human confidence in their fortune ; and he was 
wont to say, '^ That men must execute, and not de- 
** liberate upon, great enterprises.** After the bat^ 
tie of Pharsalia, when he had sent his army away be- 
fore him into Asia, and was passing the strait of 
the Hellespont in one single vessel, he met Lucius 

* Sueton. in Jul. Cacs. sect. 58. 

4€S WLius cMikR's ARt bF war* 

Cassius at sea, with ten stout men of war, where ho 

had the courage not only to lay by for them, but to 

|)ear up to them, and^ summoning Cassius to 

yield, made him surrender. 

His coo- Having undertaken that furious siege of Alexia^ 

wSfldwicc where there were fourscore thousand men ki garri^^ 

at theiiei^son, aud all Gaul was in arnis to raise the siege, havr 

Alexin, ^g g^^ ^^ army on fbot of a hundred and nine thour 

sand horse,* and of two hundred and forty thou-i* 

sand foot) what a boldness and mad confidence was 

it in him, that be would not give over his attempt, 

but resolved to oppose two so great difficulties at 

tuipe, which nevertneless he sustained! And, aflet 

liaving won that great battle against those without, 

he soon reduced those within to his mercy* The 

same happened to LucuUus, at the siege of Tigrano- 

terta, against king Tigranes; but the hazara was 

not the same, considering the efieminacy oC thqpe 

i^th whom Lucullus had td deal. 

I will here set down two rare and extraordinary 
events concerning this siege of Alexia ; one, that 
the Gauls, having drawn uieir powers together to 
Encounter Csesar, afler they had made a general 
muster of all their forces, resolved, in their council 
of war, to dismiss a good part of this great multi-r 
tude, that they might not fall into confusion : this 
example of fearing to be numerous is new ; but, to 
take it right, it stands to reason that the body of an 
^rmy should be of a moderate number, and re^ 
strained to certain bounds, both in regard to the 
difficulty of providing for them, and the difficulty of 
^'T^'rf* governing and keeping them in order ; at l^ast it is 
r"gw«tef-very easy to make it appear, by example, that 
r*^ armies so monstrous in number have seldom done 
any thing to the purpose. According to the saying 
of Cyrus in Xenophon, " It is not the numb^ of 
^^ men, but the number of good men, that gives the 

* Cesar de Bello Gallicoy lib. viL cap. 12. where only 8000 horsb 
are mentioned. ' 

JULIUS Cesar's art o1» war. 463 

•^ advantage :'* the remainder serving rather te em- 
barrass than assist. And Bajazet principally grounded That ^eat 
his resolution of giving Tamerlane battle, contrary ^""^^'^ 
to the opinion of all his captains, upon this, that his confusioB. 
enemy's yast number of men gave him assured hopes 
of their being in confusion. Scanderbeg, a very 
good and expert judge in these matters, was wont to 
say, ** That ten or twelve thousand faithful fighting 
" men were sufficient for a good leader, to secure 
♦^ his reputation on all military occasions." The 
other thing, which seems to be contrary both to the 
custom and rationale of war, is^ that Vercingetorix, 
who was made general of all the revolted jparts of 
Gaul, should gq shut himself up in Alexia ; for he 
who has the command of a whole country ought 
never to confine himself, but in such an extremity 
when the only hopes he had left was in the defence 
of that city ; otherwise he ought to keep himself al» 
ways at liberty, that he may have means to provide 
10 general for all parts of his government. 

To return to Caesar : he grew in time more slow, Cie«r be- 
and more considerate, as his friend Oppius testifies ; liI^*Ji^ 
conceiving that he ought not easily to hazard the cautions, 
glorv of so many victories, which one misfortune 
migiit deprive him of. The Italians, when they 
would reproach the rashness and fool-hardiness of 
young people, call them bisognosi (Thojwre^ ** Neces- 
** sitous of honour ;** and they say, that bein^ in 
60 great a want and dearth of reputation, they have 
reason to seek it at what price soever ; which they 
ought not to do, who have acquired enough air 
ready. There may be some just moderation in this 
thirst of glory, and some satiety in this a^etite, ai| 
well as in other things ; and there are enough who 
practise it. He ^as ff^r from the religious scruple 
of the ancient Romans, who would never prevail 
in their wars, but by mere valour ; and yet ne was 
more conscientious than we should be in these days, 
^d did not approve of all sorts of means to obtain 
^ victory. In ^he ws^ against Ariovistus, whilst he 

464 avLius cjesar's art of war. 

^ ^as parleying with him, there happened a tumnlt 
between the two armies, which was occasioned by 
the fault of Ariovistus's cavalry, wherein, thoi^h 
Csesar saw he had a very great advantage over his 
enemy, he would not lay hold ,on it, lest he should 
be reproached with a treacherous action. He was 
always wont to wear a rich garment, and of a shin^ 
• ing. dolour in battle, that he might be the more re- 
markable. He always carried a stricter hand over 
his soldiers, and kept them closer together when 
near an enemy. 
cantLv wai When the ancient Greeks would accuse any one 
* diuwM.^ extreme insufficiency, they would say, in a com- 
iu \wuL^mon proverb, " That he could neither read nor 
,»Mr. <c s^m:'* Csesar also was of this opinion, that 
swimming was of great use in war, and himself 
found it so, when being to use diligence, he com- 
monly swam over the rivers in his way ; for he loved 
to march on foot, as also did Alexander the Great; 
Being in Egypt forced, for safety, to go into a little 
boat, and so many people leaping in with him,* that 
it was in danger of sinking, though he was of an adr 
vanced age, he chose rather to commit himself to 
the sea, and swam to his fleet, which lav two hun- 
dred paces off, holding, in his left-hand, his pocket- 
book above-water, lest it should be wet, and draw- 
ing his coat-armour in his teeth, that it might not 
fall into the enemy's hand. 
Ko general Ncver li^d any general so much credit with his sok 
l5m!d^b*'" ^^^^ ' ^^ *^^ banning of the civil wars, his centu- 
|iifMidiert.rions oficrcd to find, eveij one, a man at arms at 
his own charge, and the root^soldiers to serve him 
at their own expense ; those who were best able, 
moreover, undertaking to defray the most necessi- 
tous. The late admiral Chastillioh furnished us the 
like case in our civil wars, for the French of his army 
expended money out of their own purses to pay the 
foreigners that were with them. It i^ but rare that 

* Suet in Jul. Cass. sect. 64. 

Jl^iroS a«SAR*S ART OF WAR. ^S 

we meet with exampleB of so ardent and ready an 
affection amongst the soldiers of old times, who keptf 
strictly to the ancient police. Passion has a more 
absolute command over us than reason ; and yet it 
happened, in the war against Hannibal, that, after 
the generous example of the people of Rome in the 
city, the soldiers and captains refused tiieir pay in 
the army; and, in Marcellus's camp, those who 
would receive smy, were branded with the name of 
Mercensuries. Having been worsted near Dyrra- 
chium^ his scddiers came and. offered themselves to 
be chastised and punished, so that he w:as more in- 
clined to comfort thun reprove them. 

One single cohort of his withstood four of Pom- totancemf 
pey's legions above four hours together, till it was piStyl"*'^ 
almost demolished with arrows, of which there were 
a hundred and thirty thousand . found in the treiv 
ches.* A soldier, called Scsevp, who commanded 
at cme of the avenues^ invincibly maintained his 
ground, having lost an eye, besides being wounded 
in one shoulder, and one thigh, and his shield shot 
in two hundred and thirty places. It happened that 
many of his sol(Uers, being taken prisoners, rather 
chose to die than promise to take tne contrary .side* 
When Granius Petronius was taken by Scipio, in 
Africa^ Scipio, having put his companions to death» 
sent him word, ** That he gave him his life, for he 
** was a man of quality and a questor ;** Petronius 
returned for answer, " That Caesar's soldiers were 
** wont to give life to others,t and not to receive 
^^ it;" and immediately, with his own hand, killed 

Of their fidelity there are infinite examples ; piaeiity ©f 
amongst which, that of those who were besieged intbe^arfisoD 
Salona, a city that stood for Caesar against Pompey,^^^^"^ 
is not to be forgotten, on account of an extraordi- 

* Sueton. in Jul. Caes. sect. 58, Caesar makes the number but 
thirty thousand, 
f Plutarch, ia the Life of Gsesar, chap. 5. 

yoL, u. 3 H 


nary accident that there happened. Marcus Octa-r 
viiis kept them close besieged ; they within being 
reduced to an extreme necessity, so that, to supply 
the want of men, most of them being either slain or 
wounded,* they had set all their slaves at liberty, 
and had been constra